87 percent of Americans willing to be tested for prostate cancer (maybe)


According to a report on the Scientific American web site, 87 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by researchers at Tufts Medical Center would be willing to have a hypothetical “predictive” test for prostate cancer. (We are talking about some future, better, predictive test for prostate cancer, not the PSA test, or even the PCA3 test.)

This percentage was higher than the percentage of people willing to take a similar, hypothetical “predictive” test for breast cancer (at 81 percent) or Alzheimer’s disease (at 72 percent).

A total of 1,463 people actually completed the survey. Women, people who were older, and people with higher academic degrees appear to have been less willing to take such hypothetical tests.

The study by Neumann et al. on which this report is based has been published on line in the journal Health Economics. More information about the study is available on a variety of web news sites, such as RedOrbit and e!ScienceNews. The reports appear to be based on a media release from InHealth: The Institute for Health Technology Studies, which is a Washington, DC-based think tank/advocacy organization. However, there is no sign of the media release on the InHealth web site (as of noon today).

We would point out that unless one knows the absolute accuracy of this hypothetical test to predict prostate cancer that is of real clinical significance (i.e., prostate cancer that would cause any significant signs or symptoms during the patient’s lifetime), this is an entirely academic discussion. There is no such test either available or known to be in development at the present time. Which also means that the fact that people would be willing to pay a couple hundred dollars for such a test is equally academic!

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