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 2024, the ACS estimates that in the U.S. 299,010 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, and that 35,250 men will die from this disease.
  • 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 1994-2017).
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the decline in cancer screenings has raised concerns of delayed diagnoses. Research published in JAMA Oncology found a substantial disruption to cancer diagnoses in the U.S. during the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, with prostate cancer accounting for the largest number of potentially missed cases (22,950).
  • Our data is showing that among Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries, screening PSAs in our national footprint declined 63% from January to April 2020. Thereafter, procedure volumes did increase but then exhibited a general downward trend as the COVID-19 period continued. As of October 2023, there were a total of 133,839 procedures performed that month. That compared to: 152,354 in October 2022, 159,163 in October 2021, and 167,910 in October 2020.

What should I do?

  • At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people stopped getting their regular cancer screenings. The ACS advises that people talk to their healthcare providers about options to help get them on schedule (or back on schedule) for their screening tests.

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

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