Project 4: Prostate screening from the perspective of GPs

Work by Kristen Pickles, supervised by Stacy Carter and Lucie Rychetnik

Kristen investigated the practices and reasoning of GPs, who are on the front line of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing to screen healthy men for prostate cancer risk. She conducted a large comparative qualitative study of GPs from a range of practices across Australia and the UK. She used the interview data to answer the following questions.

Research questions:

  1. How do GPs reason about overdiagnosis, and how is this expressed in their practice?
  2. How do GPs communicate with men and their families about PSA testing?
  3. How does PSA testing vary between jurisdictions (different countries, different kinds of practice, different locations within Australia)?
  4. What professional and moral obligations do GPs and others in the healthcare system have for PSA testing?
  5. How should PSA testing proceed in future?


Pickles K, Carter SM, Rychetnik L. Doctors’ approaches to PSA testing and overdiagnosis in primary healthcare: a qualitative study. BMJ Open. 2015;5:e006367.

Pickles K, Carter SM, Rychetnik L, McCaffery K, Entwistle VA. General practitioners’ experiences of, and responses to, uncertainty in prostate cancer screening: insights from a qualitative study.  PLoS ONE. 2016;11(4):e0153299.

Pickles K, Carter SM, Rychetnik L, Entwistle VA. Doctors’ perspectives on PSA testing illuminate established differences in prostate cancer screening rates between Australia and the UK: a qualitative study. BMJ Open. 2016;6(12):e011932.

Pickles K, Carter SM, Rychetnik L, McKaffery K, Entwistle VA. Primary goals, information-giving and men’s understanding: a qualitative study of Australian and UK doctors’ varied communication about PSA screening. BMJ Open 2018;8:e018009. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018009

Kristen can be contacted on kristen [dot] pickles [at] sydney [dot] edu [dot] au

More about Kristen here.

More about Stacy here.

More about Lucie here.