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Table 1 Key points identified by the PCRMP for men to be aware of prior to undertaking a PSA test

From: The PSA testing dilemma: GPs' reports of consultations with asymptomatic men: a qualitative study

• the PSA test facilitates the early detection of prostate cancer at a stage when potentially curative treatments can be offered
• there is currently no strong evidence that PSA testing reduces mortality from prostate cancer
• not all men with raised PSA will have prostate cancer/the PSA test will not detect all prostate cancers
• prostate cancer is diagnosed through a prostate biopsy which can be uncomfortable or painful
• prostate biopsies will not detect all prostate cancers
• prostate cancers range from aggressive to slow growing forms – slow growing tumours may not result in symptoms or shorten life expectancy
• there is no evidence about the optimum treatment for localised prostate cancer
• some treatments for prostate cancer can have significant side effects