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A study to find out how being tested for prostate cancer affects men's feelings
This study looked at how being tested for prostate cancer affected men’s feelings and emotions. This study was a part of the ProtecT trial. It is called a sub study.
At the moment there is no single test for prostate cancer that works well enough in healthy men. The use of the PSA blood test as part of a screening programme is still under discussion in the UK.
Doctors know that some people may feel anxious when they have cancer screening tests. But they do not know how PSA testing for prostate cancer affected men’s moods. In this sub study the researchers used questionnaires to ask men how they felt during the time they were being tested. The researchers particularly wanted to know the feelings of men who had a raised PSA level and whose tissue sample (
The aim of this sub study was to find out how testing for prostate cancer affected men’s feelings and emotions. This information would help doctors understand what support men would need, if screening for prostate cancer is introduced in the UK.
Summary of results
The study team found that most men coped well with being tested for prostate cancer.
The researchers contacted 330 men who had a raised PSA test followed by a negative tissue sample (biopsy) of the prostate. They asked them to complete a questionnaire at the time of joining the study, at their PSA test, at their biopsy appointment and 12 weeks after.
About 20 men out of every 100 (20%) reported high levels of anxiety and distress at the time of their biopsy. This level remained high immediately after finding out their biopsy was negative.
At 12 weeks after their biopsy the level of distress had fallen significantly.
The study team concluded that the majority of men did cope well with the screening tests for prostate cancer. But they should be told of the risk of distress before having tests for prostate cancer.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Kavita Vedhara
Cancer Research UK