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Original article

Vol. 153 No. 9 (2023)

Do Swiss urologists and Swiss internists screen themselves and their relatives for prostate cancer? A questionnaire study

  • Thomas P. Scherer
  • Karim Saba
  • Marian S. Wettstein
  • Ilaria Lucca
  • Ashkan Mortezavi
  • Sharon Waisbrod
  • Drahomir Aujesky
  • Regula Capaul
  • Raeto T. Strebel
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2023;153:40115


PURPOSE: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for men at risk of prostate cancer is controversial. The current recommendation is to raise awareness of prostate cancer and offer PSA screening in accordance with shared decision- making. Whether the possibility of a PSA screen is discussed with the patient depends on the treating physician, but data on physicians’ attitudes towards PSA screening are scarce. This study aimed to examine internists’ and urologists’ personal PSA screening activity as an indicator of their attitude towards PSA screening.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Members of the Swiss Society of Urology and the Swiss Society of General Internal Medicine were asked in 08/2020 to anonymously complete an online survey about personal PSA screening behaviour for themselves, their fathers, brothers and partners. Categorical and continuous variables were compared by chi-squared tests and t-tests, respectively.

RESULTS: In total, 190/295 (response rate: 64%) urologists and 893/7400 (response rate: 12%) internists participated in the survey. Of the participants, 297/1083 (27.4%) were female. Male urologists >50 years of age screened themselves more often than male internists >50 years of age (89% vs 70%, p <0.05). Furthermore, urologists reported recommending screening statistically significantly more often than internists to their brother, father or partner regardless of their sex (men: 38.1% vs 18.5%; p <0.05; women: 81.8% vs 32.2%; p <0.05).  

CONCLUSIONS: Most participating male physicians >50 years of age have screened themselves for prostate cancer. Furthermore, PSA screening of relatives was significantly associated with the urology specialty. The reasons physicians screen themselves substantially more often than the public and why male and female urologists as well as male internists perform PSA screening more frequently in their private environment than female internists should be further examined.


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