News Media Analysis of the United States Preventive Services Task Force and American Urological Association Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines

Kevin Koo, Kevin Shee, Ronald L. Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction Rates of prostate specific antigen screening and prostate cancer diagnoses have declined following controversial changes to prostate cancer screening guidelines by the USPSTF (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) in 2011 and 2012 advising against all prostate specific antigen screening. To understand whether uneven media coverage of the guidelines may have influenced shifts in clinical decision making, this study analyzes news reports about the USPSTF and AUA (American Urological Association) prostate cancer screening guidelines. Methods Two national databases were queried for news articles published within 30 days of the release of each guideline. Media analysis included consequences of screening, accuracy of guideline descriptions, discussion of primary evidence and neutrality of headlines. Thematic changes between the preliminary and final USPSTF guidelines were compared. Results Of the 45 news articles in the sample 24 were about the preliminary USPSTF guidelines, 17 about the final USPSTF guidelines and 4 about the revised AUA guidelines. More than 80% of the articles discussed adverse consequences of prostate specific antigen screening while a minority accurately summarized the recommendations or discussed limitations of the evidence. Significantly more articles about the final vs preliminary USPSTF guidelines had headlines opposing screening or suggested urologists’ financial gains from prostate specific antigen tests (p <0.05). Of the articles that mentioned the initial opposition of the AUA to the USPSTF, only 29% described the current AUA guidelines in any form. Conclusions The USPSTF guidelines were more extensively reported in the news than the AUA guidelines. Articles frequently emphasized the negative aspects of screening and did not discuss limitations of the evidence. These findings may have influenced patients’ decisions underlying declines in prostate specific antigen screening since 2011.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalUrology Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • advisory committees
  • guidelines as topic
  • prostate-specific antigen
  • prostatic neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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