(HealthDay News) — Low-value prostate cancer screening is common in primary care, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Chris Gillette, Ph.D., from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues used data from the National Ambulatory Medicare Care Survey (2013 to 2016 and 2018) to assess the proportion of U.S. primary care visits at which low-value prostate cancer screening is ordered, as well as characteristics associated with low-value prostate cancer screening.

The researchers found 6.71 low-value prostate-specific antigens (PSAs) per 100 visits and 1.65 low-value digital rectal exams (DREs) per 100 visits. The odds of ordering a low-value PSA increased by 49 percent and the odds of performing a low-value DRE increased by 37 percent for each additional service ordered by primary care providers.

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“As health care systems move toward a more value-based care system — where the benefit of services provided outweighs any risks — providers need to engage patients in these discussions on the complexity of this testing,” Gillette said in a statement. “Ultimately, when and if to screen is a decision best left between a provider and the patient.”

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