General practitioners' approaches to prostate-specific antigen testing in the north-east of the Netherlands

Sanny Kappen*, Lisa Koops, Verena Jürgens, Michael H Freitag, Marco H Blanker, Antje Timmer, Geertruida H de Bock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: There is wide variation in clinical practice for the early detection of prostate cancer, not least because of the ongoing debate about the benefits of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. In this study, we aimed to assess the approaches, attitudes, and knowledge of general practitioners (GPs) regarding PSA testing in primary care in the Netherlands, particularly regarding recommendations for prostate cancer.

METHODS: Questionnaire surveys were sent to 179 GPs in the north-east of the Netherlands, of which 65 (36%) were completed and returned. We also surveyed 23 GPs attending a postgraduate train-the-trainer day (100%). In addition to demographic data and practice characteristics, the 31-item questionnaire covered the attitudes, clinical practice, adherence to PSA screening recommendations, and knowledge concerning the recommendations for prostate cancer early detection. Statistical analysis was limited to the descriptive level.

RESULTS: Most GPs (95%; n = 82) stated that they had at least read the Dutch GP guideline, but just half (50%; n = 43) also stated that they knew the content. Almost half (46%; n = 39) stated they would offer detailed counseling before ordering a PSA test to an asymptomatic man requesting a test. Overall, prostate cancer screening was reported to be of minor importance compared to other types of cancer screening.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinical PSA testing in primary care in this region of the Netherlands seems generally to be consistent with the relevant guideline for Dutch GPs that is restrictive to PSA testing. The next step will be to further evaluate the effects of the several PSA testing strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number270
Pages (from-to)270
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Family Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17-Dec-2020


  • Prostatic neoplasms
  • Early detection of Cancer
  • Prostate-specific antigen
  • General practitioners
  • Physicians
  • Health care surveys
  • Guideline
  • Guideline adherence
  • Netherlands

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