• prostate carcinoma;
  • prostate-specific antigen;
  • screening;
  • high risk;
  • African American



Despite the lack of evidence demonstrating a survival benefit from prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, its use has become widespread, organizations have encouraged physicians to discuss early detection of prostate carcinoma, and two higher risk groups have been recognized. In the current study, the authors examined whether African-American men and men who had a family history of prostate carcinoma underwent PSA testing preferentially, and patterns of test use were examined according to age, race, and other factors.


Data regarding self-reported PSA test use in the past year among men age 50 years and older without a history of prostate carcinoma (n = 8713 men) were analyzed from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey.


The overall rate of PSA use was 43.0%. Older age, higher socioeconomic status, having a usual source of healthcare, and a family history of prostate carcinoma were the strongest predictors of testing. Higher risk African-American men age 50 years and older were no more likely to be tested than white men. Men at higher risk who had a family history of prostate carcinoma were more likely to have been tested than men who had no such family history.


Rates of PSA use among higher risk men who had a family history of prostate carcinoma were higher compared with the rates among men without such a family history. However, PSA testing rates among higher risk African-American men were no different than the rates among lower risk white men, suggesting that some risk factors for prostate carcinoma (but not others) are associated with preferential testing. Testing in all groups was associated with access to care variables, highlighting the importance of removing barriers to preventive healthcare services. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.