Introduction and objectives:The quality of medical care to US veterans, as provided by the Veterans Health Administration, has recently been subjected to heightened scrutiny. We sought to report prostate-specific antigen screening (PSAS) in a contemporary cohort of veteran men (VM) vs. nonveteran men (NVM). We hypothesize that VM are less likely to receive age-appropriate PSAS compared with NVM.
Materials and methods: We identified VM and NVM aged 55 to 69 years without history of prostate cancer who underwent PSA testing in the year preceding that of the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor and Surveillance System survey. The prevalence of PSAS among VM and NVM was determined in aggregate and on a state-by-state basis. Complex samples logistic regression models calculated the odds of PSAS based on veteran status, adjusted for patient/demographic characteristics.
Results: In all, 56,962 responses were collected, yielding a weighted estimate of 23.7 million men, of which 30.5% were VM. Overall, 45.2% (CI: 43.9%–46.5%) of VM reported PSAS compared with only 37.5% (CI: 36.5%–38.5%) of NVM. VM were more likely to have health insurance (92.0%; CI: 91.3%–92.8% vs. 86.2%; CI: 85.4%–87.0%) and a regular health care provider (89.0%; CI: 88.2%–89.8% vs. 85.9%; CI: 85.1%–86.6%) compared with NVM. Unadjusted prevalence of PSAS varied widely across the United States for VM and NVM. In multivariable analyses, VM had higher odds for PSAS (odds ratio =1.10, CI: 1.02%–1.18%).
Conclusions: Contrary to our initial hypothesis, our findings suggest a continued pattern of greater preventive health services use by veterans. VM were more likely to undergo PSAS than NVM. This is, in part, attributable to better access to primary care and health insurance. Nonetheless, heterogeneity in screening practices remained largely dependent on geography.