02 Aug 2023

Our position on community PSA blood testing

Our Director of Support and Influencing, Chiara De Biase, outlines the guidance we offer.

You may see PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood tests being offered in places such as community centres or football stadiums. We often get asked by individuals or groups if we can support these events either financially or through volunteers.

This is our position:

We understand the desire to run these events in the absence of an organised national screening programme for prostate cancer, and we understand that testing events are often driven by an emotional connection to prostate cancer and a desire to “prevent other men going through what I’ve been through”.

However, for us to support them the organisers need to meet certain conditions, so that men have access to the healthcare they need and to which they are entitled. To support PSA testing events, we would expect that:

  • Men are being counselled on their individual prostate cancer risk factors (age, ethnicity and family history) and the pros and cons of the PSA blood test by appropriately trained health professionals.
  • Men have all the information they need to make an informed choice about the PSA blood test to help them decide if they would like one or not.

The individual benefits of a PSA blood test will be different for each man. This is because some men will have more risk factors than others or will have pre-existing health conditions.

Information or counselling on the PSA blood test should explain this:

  • Depending on their age, men should be told that they have a right to a free PSA blood test via their GP.
  • The results of the test, and other relevant information to support onward referral, should be linked to a man’s GP medical record.
  • A man with a raised PSA should be followed up by his GP and should be referred to the local Urology department according to NHS guidelines for urgent suspected cancer referrals (commonly known as two-week wait referrals).
  • Men should be aware that it is likely their GP will repeat the PSA blood test before deciding on next steps.

Unless they're being led by NHS teams, not all community PSA testing events will be directly linked to the local GP or hospital system and the results will only be sent to the person who had the test and not their GP. This means men will be left to interpret important medical information without appropriate support or guidance.

If you are thinking about having a PSA blood test at this type of event, make sure a trained health care professional will be there to give you information and support you in deciding whether the PSA test is right for you.

It is almost always better to visit your GP if you’re thinking about having a PSA blood test. If you do have a test in the community, you should visit your GP to discuss the results, especially if you have a raised PSA level.

If you are worried about your risk of prostate cancer we recommend using our online 30-second risk checker as a quick, easy and free way to help you make an informed choice about this issue.

Check your risk