A randomized controlled trial of shared decision making for prostate cancer screening

Robert J. Volk, Alvah R. Cass, Stephen J. Spann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate a patient-educational approach to shared decision making for prostate cancer screening. Design: Randomized controlled trial with preoffice visit assessment and 2-week follow-up. Setting: University-based family practice center. Patients: Men aged 45 through 70 years with no history of prostate cancer or treatment for prostate disease (N = 160). Two patients were unavailable for follow-up. Intervention: Twenty-minute educational videotape on advantages and disadvantages of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer. Main Outcome Measures: A measure of patients' core knowledge of prostate cancer developed for this study, reported preferences for PSA testing, and ratings of the videotape. Results: Patients' core knowledge at baseline was poor. At 2-week follow-up, subjects undergoing videotape intervention showed a 78% improvement in the number of knowledge questions answered correctly (P = .001), and knowledge increased about mortality due to early-stage prostate cancer, PSA screening performance, treatment-related complications, and disadvantages of screening. No overall change was observed for control subjects. At follow-up, 48 (62%) of 78 intervention patients planned to have the PSA test compared with 64 (80%) of 80 control patients (18.5% absolute reduction; 95% confidence interval, 4.6%-32.4%; P = .009). Intervention subjects rated favorably the amount of information provided and the clarity, balance, and length of the videotape and would recommend the videotape to others. Conclusions: Patient education regarding the potential benefits and harms of early detection of prostate cancer can lead to more informed decision making. Incorporating the PSA videotape into the periodic health examination for asymptomatic men aged 50 years and older is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of family medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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