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Clarification on PSA tests

24 March 2017

In March 2016, SA Pathology began to use a new prostate specific antigen (PSA) cancer screening test. During the transition period, from March 2016 to November 2016, all PSA tests were conducted using both an existing kit and a new kit. This is usual practice when transferring from one manufacturer’s test kit to another. Test results from both kits were accurate. However, results from different manufacturers’ kits can give slightly different results for the same patient. During the transition period, the test comment referred only to the test results for the existing test kit, not the new one.

Test comments

As a consequence, approximately one percent of the total test reports had a comment that was slightly different from those based on the results from the new testing kit. It is important to note that the comment is only a guide and is not used in isolation to decide on the most appropriate follow-up plan for each patient.

General practitioners use a range of factors to determine the next course of action for a patient, including the patient’s age and medical history, the patient’s current and past PSA results and occasionally the doctor may also refer to the comment.

Communication to doctors

SA Pathology has written to GPs to clarify comments on a small number of prostate cancer screening test (PSA) reports from the transition period to clarify the comments and have recommended they conduct a review to ensure the correct follow-up plans are in place. Please see the attached document with a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for more general information for patients.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your referring GP or call SA Pathology on 8222 3000.

Attachment 1 - Click to View