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Cancer Nurs. 2006 Jan-Feb;29(1):1-8.

Being screened for prostate cancer: a simple blood test or a commitment to treatment?

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, 302-6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada.


The virtues of screening men for prostate cancer continue to be debated in political and public health, as well as clinical forums. Science has been unable to accurately predict screening benefits, yet many men are required to make informed decisions about prostate cancer screening. Clinicians' screening practices have been reported, but little research attention has been given to patients' experiences. The purpose of this study was to describe patients' perspectives of being screened and subsequently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thirty-five Anglo-Australian men were interviewed, and the data were analyzed using ethnographic content analysis. The findings indicated that most participants experienced screening as a continuum of 3 tests, rather than the simple prostate-specific antigen blood test they had often anticipated. Commitment to a definitive diagnosis when abnormality was detected through screening and uptake of active treatment(s) when prostate cancer was confirmed were strongly represented in this study. The findings offer insight to the complex and often rapid sequence of events that can accompany prostate cancer screening. This has implications for the information that needs to be discussed with men before, rather than after prostate cancer screening has commenced.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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