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Half of doctors reject RACGP advice on PSA tests

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27th Sep 2011
Danny Rose   all articles by this author

MORE than half of GPs surveyed in an MO poll on PSA testing support routine screening from age 40 or from age 50.

The survey of 152 GPs, conducted by GPReach,  found just 4% supported “no screening” – the RACGP’s position.

Asked what they believed was the best approach based on the evidence, 55% supported routine PSA screening, although views differed on the appropriate starting age.

The strongest support (35%) was for routine screening from age 50. The poll found routine screening from the age of 40 garnered 20% support.  

Opportunistic screening from age 40 and from age 50 were also each supported by 20% of respondents.

The GPs were also asked whether they agreed with the “RACGP’s opposition to routine PSA testing or do you agree with the [Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia’s (RCPA)] advice to offer screening from age 40?” 

Half supported the RCPA, with women more likely to do so than men, while 26% sided with the RACGP, and 24% were undecided.

Sydney GP Dr Craig Lilienthal, an adviser to Avant, said there did not appear to be a medicolegal risk should GPs order, or not order, a PSA test.

It would be “difficult, if not impossible” for a GP to be found wanting when there was no agreement among the colleges, Dr Lilienthal said.

“If I was hauled up in court I’d simply wheel out representatives of all the different colleges… and the court would say if the colleges give conflicting answers then what can a poor GP do? 

“Patients look to us for some guidance and we’re confused, and give them a confusing choice... [unless] there is a real clinical indication.”

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