This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Men who undergo treatment for prostate cancer usually have prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, tests as part of their follow-up care. A PSA test can indicate whether prostate cancer has returned. Doctors don’t know how often men should get PSA tests after having prostate cancer. Some men with a higher risk for cancer returning may benefit from frequent PSA tests to help find returned cancer as early as possible. But testing can cause stress and anxiety. Testing also may lead to unnecessary treatment for slow-growing cancer that isn’t likely to affect men’s health.
The research team wants to know how often men need PSA tests after treatment for prostate cancer, depending on men’s individual risk for cancer returning. The team is comparing how likely testing every 3, 6, or 12 months is to identify cancer early and help men live longer and how often it leads to harms, including stress and unneeded treatments.
Who can this research help?
Results from this study can help men and their doctors as they consider how often to plan PSA testing based on their individual risk of cancer returning and their preferences.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is studying information from the National Cancer Database, which includes 70 percent of cancer patients in the United States. They are looking at 10 years of health information from about 14,000 men who have had prostate cancer to see how often
- Men die from any cause
- Prostate cancer returns
- Men get treatment for cancer that returns
The team wants to see whether these are different for men who got PSA testing more or less frequently.
In addition, the research team is studying information about quality of life from a group of more than 1,000 men who survived prostate cancer. The team wants to know how often men report anxiety about cancer returning and how PSA testing affects men’s quality of life.
Men with prostate cancer worked with the research team to plan the study and make sure it addresses what matters most to survivors of prostate cancer.
Research methods at a glance
Individuals with Multiple Chronic/co-morbid Conditions