This information has been developed for health practitioners to support discussion with men and their families about prostate-specific antigen testing for prostate cancer. It covers benefits, possible risks, current research and frequently asked questions.

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The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is a commonly used blood test to detect potential prostate cancer, but elevated PSA levels do not necessarily mean cancer is present.

Before ordering a PSA test, health practitioners should talk to men about the potential benefits and harms of PSA testing.

In 2012, the Australian Government Department of Health engaged the NHMRC to:

  1. review the evidence from international screening trials, and other relevant literature, to establish the benefits and adverse effects of using the PSA test to screen for prostate cancer; and
  2. develop an information document which will guide Australian health professionals in their use of the PSA test.

The independent and expert evaluation of the scientific evidence on PSA testing was undertaken in 2012. With the advice of a purposefully appointed Expert Advisory Group, the review culminated in a report titled PSA testing in asymptomatic men: Evidence Evaluation Report.

A resource for health practitioners was developed based on this evaluation of the evidence and with advice from the Expert Advisory Group.

PSA Testing for Prostate Cancer in Asymptomatic Men: Information for Health Practitioners provides a summary of the evidence on the benefits and harms of PSA testing with or without digital rectal examination for prostate cancer.

Information relating to process of development for the above documents is available in the NHMRC Advice for Health Practitioners on PSA Testing in Asymptomatic Men: Administrative Report. NHMRC invited public comments on the draft Information Document and all submissions were carefully considered. Full submissions are available on the NHMRC Public Consultations website.


  • Project Funder: Department of Health
  • Project Manager: NHMRC staff
  • Expert advice on the Information Document and Evidence Evaluation Report: Expert Advisory Group
  • Methodological review of the draft Evidence Evaluation Report: Professor Jenny Doust
  • Expert review of the draft Information: Drs Evan Ackerman and Addie Wooten, and Professors Anthony Costello and James Bishop