Single men likely to miss prostate checks

Efforts to improve early detection of prostate cancer need to focus on single men and those with a family history of the disease, the results of a decade-long study suggest.

Researchers from the University of Michigan examined the psychosocial factors affecting screening behaviour among 2,447 men aged 40 to 79.

The researchers recorded which men underwent screening by prostate-specific antigen testing or digital rectal examination between 1989 and 1998.

They found that men who did not have a partner were 40 per cent less likely than those who were married or living with someone to have been screened at least once every three years during that time.

For men under 60 years old, those with a family history of prostate cancer were not more likely to be screened than those with no such history, despite being more likely to develop the disease.

'This supports providing high-risk men with screening information earlier in their lifetime to promote earlier detection,' the researchers said.

As well as promoting screening among men with a family history of the condition, GPs can also educate men's partners and families about the benefits of screening, lead researcher Lauren Walker said.

  • Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2008; 12: 3,588-92.

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