Prostate Cancer Screening and Shared Decision-Making Overview

Prostate cancer is a significant cause of death and disability in US men, but the value of screening for the disease with the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test remains highly controversial. Primary care physicians and patients need better education about prostate cancer screening, including potential benefits and harms, fundamentals of effective patient counseling and informed decision-making. The United States Preventative Services Task Force does not recommend routine use of PSA both because of the PSA testís low accuracy for aggressive prostate cancer and because of the serious side-effects of prostate cancer surgery (including impotence and incontinence), without proven efficacy of surgical treatment. Yet, many primary care physicians use PSA testing routinely, with little patient counseling. This curriculum updates participants on the latest PSA screening recommendations and provides suggestions for communication and decision-making processes.

Innovative Learning Tools

This eDoctoring program is composed of four interconnected tools that develop skills in patient-physician communication and counseling related to prostate cancer screening and shared decision-making.

Essentials of Screening Tests Movie

Narrated video segments demonstrate risk-assessment and shared-decision making principles for PSA testing.

Decision Tools

Individual and population based risk tools and value preference items provide information to help physicians communicate and discuss issues related to PSA screening tests.

Instructional Videos

Physicians and patients discuss their personal choices related to prostate health.


Content specific information provides users an overview about screening tests, legal issues and shared decision-making.

 Tutorial List

Medical Ethics: This tutorial uses common clinical cases to review concepts in medical ethics and discusses basic legal principles in medical practice.

Screening for Disease: This tutorial provides the background and theory around screening for a disease when there are no clinical symptoms.

Shared Decision Making: This tutorial addresses the meaning and importance of shared decision making and explores the skills needed to engage in effective shared decision making.


 Further Information

Course Director (PI)

Michael Wilkes, M.D., Ph.D.

Content Authors

Douglas S. Bell, M.D., Ph.D., Frank C. Day, M.D., M.P.H., Jerome R. Hoffman, M.D., Richard L. Kravitz, M.D., M.S.P.H., Malathi Srinivasan, M.D., Daniel Tancredi, Ph.D.


Daniel Tancredi, Ph.D., and Erin Griffin, Ph.D.

Project Staff

Timothy C. Beer, Stacy Hayashi, Jerilyn Higa, M.S., Richard Maranon, Julie Rainwater, Ph.D. and Meghan Webb, M.A.

Web Development Team

University of Newcastle upon Tyne: Paul Drummond, Andrew Fanning, Dan Plummer
University of California, Los Angeles: Lingtao Cao, Charles Harless, Steve Sobolevsky

Video Production

Geoffrey Haley and Michael Wilkes, M.D., Ph.D.

Funding provided by
Dept of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention