A-Z

PSA test for prostate cancer

Encouraged by family, friends and the media

Men we talked to often had more than one reason for having a PSA test (see sections on the influence of 'Family history and other concerns about cancer', 'Symptoms', and 'Routine health checks'). Some said that they first thought about having a PSA test because family or friends encouraged them to take action. 

 

A friend encouraged him to have a PSA test even though he had no symptoms.

Text only
Read below

A friend encouraged him to have a PSA test even though he had no symptoms.

Age at interview: 62
Sex: Male
HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Yes basically I went for a PSA test primarily due to someone, a friend of mine who every time he met me, when I reached the age of 50, kept saying 'Have you been and had your PSA test?' And his logic was that he knew two or three men who had had prostate cancer and his argument was if only they'd had the PSA test earlier it might have been trapped before it became a kind of major problem. And his logic was that would you, we have our teeth checked regularly, we have our car checked regularly, women have check-ups for cancer, you know why are men so afraid and why don't, don't they go? So I suppose on one hand there was the logic of his argument, on the other hand I'm very much a person who says well why go looking for a problem if there isn't one and if it's not broke why fix it? So basically I filed it away as a good idea'

 

After he moved house and changed his GP a friend encouraged him to have a second PSA test.

After he moved house and changed his GP a friend encouraged him to have a second PSA test.

Age at interview: 66
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I met a friend who was quite close to us, in fact we had been on holiday with them and he had already been diagnosed with prostate cancer some years previously. And he was a person who was quite prepared to talk about his problem and he basically asked me if I'd had the necessary prostate test and I mentioned I'd the normal examinations and then he said, 'Did they tell you what your PSA was?' and of course that was total strange language to me and I said,' Well what is a PSA?' and he explained it all to me, as a result of which during my next medical visit to the GP I actually asked for a PSA test to be done.

The media influenced men too. Journalists and health professionals, writing for newspapers and magazines, often encourage men to have regular health checks. Some of these writers suggest that check-ups should include a PSA test. The man mentioned above said that his decision to have a PSA test was also influenced by the death of a friend and by the media.

 

The death of a friend, local radio, and articles in magazines and newspapers also influenced him...

The death of a friend, local radio, and articles in magazines and newspapers also influenced him...

Age at interview: 66
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Oh that's interesting would you mind just summarising that, you decided to have, starting by saying why you decided to have a PSA test at that stage, all the influences, the things that influenced you?

Yes well obviously my friend's own illness and suffering of prostate cancer and unfortunately he passed away last year, 10 years after his original diagnosis and treatment for those years. And it was just coincidence at the same time all this was happening there was a lot of publicity on the local radio about the disease and in fact some interviews have been carried out with men who'd been diagnosed with the disease.

Was there any prostate cancer in your family?

Not to my knowledge but again that's another thing and obviously one is told about the disease, it can affect many men and they can have the disease and go through life without necessarily dying from it because it tends to be a disease associated with older men, although I understand men in their 50s now are being diagnosed with it, probably because of the fact that more PSA tests are being done. So I think the general awareness that's been published, and there's also been a number of articles in both national and local newspapers on the disease, it's sort of come to have this much greater publicity given to it which I feel must be good thing for the future.

Is there any particular national newspaper that you both, in which you've read articles about it?

I think there was something in the Independent some while back and I think there's also been, because we take the SAGA magazine.

Oh yes.

There have been a couple of, which obviously is an organisation designed for the over 50s anyway [laughs] there have been several articles on it there and I think. I think also the Telegraph, or the Sunday Telegraph have had some articles on it. 

One man said that a business associate encouraged him to have a PSA test. Then his wife put pressure on him to have the test. 

 

He had a PSA test partly because he and his wife were influenced by articles written in the Times...

He had a PSA test partly because he and his wife were influenced by articles written in the Times...

Age at interview: 57
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Can you just recall all the reasons that you actually decided to have a PSA test?

Yes I can. Basically it was a combination of things, it was a combination of 3 things. I remember going out to dinner with a business associate of mine, several months before I finally went for a PSA test and I remember after dinner as you do you go to the loo and you have a pee. And I remember that I was a long time peeing and this colleague of mine said, 'You don't have a prostate problem do you?' I said, 'No not that I'm aware of.' He said, 'Well if you're having difficulty peeing,' he said 'you ought to go for a PSA test because prostate cancer is absolutely rampant in men these days so you ought to be thinking about having a PSA test.' I said, 'Right that's very interesting.' so that was the first thing that happened but

Had you heard of a PSA test?

Yes I had, yes I had. I'm married to someone who is concerned about me and concerned about my health and she'd actually mentioned slightly more casually the PSA test. But I have to say subsequent to that that she had been nagging me for a while after that and before I actually went for the PSA test that I should actually have a test. I think there was another incident as well, some friends of ours, one of their friends the husband had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and it was quite an aggressive cancer and he was in some very extreme difficulty, so I was coming under a bit of pressure from, from a friend, from, from my best friend, my wife, but then I also, as I said before, needed to go and have a general check-up just sort of age and stage and what have you.

I was being influenced to have a PSA test by one of my friends and what have you but only very mildly and as it happened probably several months, may be a year before I actually went for a PSA test. But I was coming under increasing pressure from my wife, and I think probably this is for two reasons, one is of course she cares for me very much and doesn't want to lose me and therefore she knows that prostate cancer is, is a big killer for men, particularly my sort of age and upwards so that was one reason. But of course this feeling of concern she had was exacerbated I'm sure quite substantially by you know articles in the press, you've got you know various people in various you know media, Stuttaford in The Times and so on, going on and on and on about the fact that too many people are dying of prostate cancer unnecessarily, you must go and have a PSA test. So basically you know the pressure was growing and growing and growing and so I finished up going for a general medical with my GP but mentioning as well that I ought to be having a PSA test.
 

Friends and family can also influence men not to have the test. Although partners are often thought to encourage men to have health checks one man told us that his partner was very much against the idea of a test, believing that the disadvantages outweighed the benefits. 

Last reviewed May 2016.
Last updated May 2016.

donate
Previous Page
Next Page