Limited PSA testing in indigent men in South Texas: an appropriate care or missing a prevention opportunity?


No previous study has examined racial ethnic differences in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and followup in primary care practices serving an indigent population.

From electronic medical records of primary care practices affiliated with one health care system in San Antonio, we identified 9,267 men aged 50 to 74 with 2+ clinic visits from 2008 through 2010 and no prior prostate cancer diagnosis. Logistic regression was used to examine the association of race ethnicity with the use of PSA testing and, if tested, with an abnormal result (≥4 ng/mL) adjusted for demographics, health care, and clinical factors. Time to a follow-up activity after an abnormal PSA was assessed using Cox proportional models.

The race ethnicity of this cohort was 63% Hispanic, 27% non-Hispanic white, 7% African-American, and 3% other. In a 3-year period, 26.8% of men had at least one PSA test. Compared with African-Americans, non-Hispanic whites were less likely to be tested [OR, 0.68; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.55-0.83] but Hispanics did not differ (OR = 0.95; 95% CI 0.79-1.15). African-Americans were more likely to have an abnormal PSA than others (12.4% vs. 5.2%, P < 0.001) and the shortest adjusted time to follow-up (P = 0.004).

In this 3-year indigent cohort, about one quarter had a PSA test, approximately half of the national testing rate.

African-Americans were more likely to be tested than non-Hispanic whites but had more abnormal results, raising concerns about missed prevention opportunities. African-Americans with high PSA results had the shortest time until follow-up, reflecting awareness of the threat of prostate cancer for African-Americans by physicians.

  • Du F
  • Liang Y
  • Thompson IM
  • Turner BJ
PubMed ID
Appears In
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2012, 21 (9)