PSA testing: Molecular technologies and men's experience of prostate cancer survivorship

Kirsten Bell, Arminee Kazanjian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the value of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test as a cancer-screening instrument remains hotly contested, over the past two decades its usage has become commonplace. While most men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die with rather than of the disease, widespread PSA screening has led to an attendant increase in cancer diagnoses and the usage of aggressive treatments to ‘combat’ it. Despite the central (if controversial) role that PSA now plays in the diagnosis of prostate cancer and monitoring for recurrence, few studies have set out to explore its role in men's experiences of the disease. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork at a prostate cancer support group in western Canada, we seek to delineate the meanings the PSA test holds for prostate cancer survivors. For many men in the study, their PSA levels were seen to provide an objective indicator of the presence or absence of cancer, with important implications for their subjective experience of cancer diagnosis and survivorship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • cancer screening
  • prostate cancer
  • risk assessment
  • perceived risk
  • cancer survivorship

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