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J Urol. 1994 Nov;152(5 Pt 2):1689-92.

The use of prostate specific antigen for prostate cancer screening: a managed care perspective.

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  • 1Department of Medical Education, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington.


A large nonprofit staff model Health Maintenance Organization experienced increased use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) as a screening test for prostate cancer beginning in May 1991. A critical evaluation of the evidence in support of PSA screening was done and concluded that the use of PSA to screen for prostate cancer did not meet the criteria for an effective screening program. A guideline stating that PSA was not recommended as a screening test was implemented focusing on a model of shared decision making. PSA test ordering decreased significantly when patients were fully informed about the evidence for PSA screening. If PSA screening had continued at the peak rate, the cascade of intervention initiated by screening would have resulted in significant complications and approximately $4,800,000 in increased costs.

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