New research investigates healthcare utilisation and prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing

Psychological and physical health & healthcare utilisation associated with whether men have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.

A new paper published in BMC Family Practice, by researchers in the National Cancer Registry and Trinity College Dublin, investigates what predicts whether or not a man undergoes a PSA test. 

In this study, funded by the Irish Cancer Society and the Health Research Board, the research team used data from a population-representative sample of 3,628 men aged 50 years or older, enrolled by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). TILDA participants underwent structured interviews, health assessments and completed standardised questionnaires, during which men were asked whether they had ever had a PSA test.

The research team found that 68.2% of men had ever had a PSA test. Men’s psychological and physical health was associated with likelihood of having ever had a PSA test. Men who had sub-threshold depression and who were frailer, were significantly less likely to have been tested. Furthermore, men with anxiety, smokers and those eligible for free GP appointments were less likely to have had a PSA test. However, men who had more chronic illnesses, and who visited the GP more often were more likely to have had a PSA test as were those who had cholesterol testing and influenza vaccinations.

This study identified factors which both positively and negatively influence whether men have a PSA test. Given how widespread testing is in Ireland, what underlies some of the associations requires further investigation.  


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