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Med J Aust. 1998 Jul 6;169(1):17-20.

Prostate-specific antigen testing in Australia and association with prostate cancer incidence in New South Wales.

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  • 1Cancer Control Information Centre, New South Wales Cancer Council, Sydney.



To describe patterns and trends in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing in Australia and assess its role in the increasing incidence of prostate cancer.


Descriptive analysis of (i) Medicare records of PSA testing in Australia, and (ii) prostate cancer recorded incidence in New South Wales.


(i) Medicare data for all males who received a Medicare-reimbursed PSA test between August 1989 and December 1996. (ii) NSW Central Cancer Registry data for all males in NSW with prostate cancer diagnosed between 1988 and 1995.


(i) Number of PSA tests, age-standardised rates of PSA tests by State and Territory, and proportions of males who had a PSA test. (ii) Recorded incidence of prostate cancer in NSW.


(i) More than 2.2 million PSA tests were done on more than 1.1 million Australians between 1989 and 1996. The annual number of males tested increased fivefold in this period and peaked in 1995. Twenty-seven per cent of Australian men aged 50 years or over had at least one PSA test in 1995 or 1996; 33% of men aged 60-69 years had a test in this period. (ii) In NSW the number of PSA tests per quarter was highly correlated with the number of new cases of prostate cancer (R2 = 0.92).


Although no organised program for prostate cancer screening exists, and despite repeated advice against it, opportunistic screening has been occurring at high rates. There was a high correlation between PSA testing and prostate cancer incidence between 1990 and 1995 in NSW.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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