Screening PSAs

CMS 1500 Professional Services

Did you know?

  • According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men after skin cancer.
  • For the year 2021, the ACS estimates that 248,530 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S., and that 34,130 men will die from this disease in the U.S.
  • Risk factors for this disease include age, being African-American, and having a family history of prostate cancer.

Why should I care?

  • The PSA test is a blood test that detects a substance made by the prostate called prostate-specific antigen. If the PSA reading is elevated, this can be a sign of cancer. However, PSA levels can be elevated due to other causes.
  • During the PSA era–when there has been an emphasis on early detection–there has been over a 50% reduction in the age-adjusted U.S. death rate from prostate cancer for all races (from 1993-2017).
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the decline in cancer screenings has raised concerns of delayed diagnoses.
  • Our data is showing that among Medicare beneficiaries, screening PSAs in our footprint (48 states plus DC) declined 63% from January to April 2020. Thereafter, procedure volumes did increase, and as of March 2021, there were a total of 128,978 procedures performed that month.

What should I do?

  • When to restart cancer screenings during the pandemic can depend on many factors. The ACS advises people to talk to their providers about the risks and benefits of being screened now or postponing for a later date, taking into account personal and family history, other risk factors, and the timing of the last screening test.
  • The ACS and CDC websites also include important information about safety measures that healthcare facilities can take to reduce the risk of COVID transmission.

Let us show you how we can help you make more informed decisions with our RealTime Medicare FFS claims data.

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