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Screening men for prostate cancer and colorectal cancer: is practice evidence-based?
Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Dec  2007 (Vol.  14, Issue  6, Pages( 3727 - 3733)
PMID: 18163923


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    Controversy persists about whether men should be screened for prostate cancer. On the other hand, the benefit of colorectal cancer screening has been proven for men starting at age 50. We aimed to examine the rate of exposure to previous screening tests for prostate cancer and colorectal cancer in a cohort of men living in Quebec.


    As part of an event promoting early prostate cancer detection, 347 men aged 50 to 69 without an established diagnosis of prostate cancer agreed to reply to questions in a previously validated questionnaire. The self-administered questionnaire, which asked about previous screening tests for prostate cancer and colorectal cancer, was completed on-site.


    Among men aged 50 to 69, previous exposure to a digital rectal examination (DRE), a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), and sigmoidoscopy were reported by 132 men (62.9%), 73 men (34.8%), 37 men (17.6%), and 39 men (18.6%) , respectively. Across all age strata (< 50, 50-69, ≥ 70 years), PSA and DRE testing were highest in men aged 50 to 69 and were 2- to 3-fold higher than screening tests for colorectal cancer.


    In this cohort of asymptomatic Canadian men, overall and age-stratified exposure to tests to detect colon cancer early is far from ideal. Conversely, far more men have been subjected to PSA testing and DRE. Patients should be informed of the benefits and risks of colorectal cancer screening and PSA testing.