Improving knowledge of the prostate cancer screening dilemma among African American men: an academic-community partnership in Washington, DC

Public Health Rep. Nov-Dec 2001;116(6):590-8. doi: 10.1093/phr/116.6.590.


Objective: Studies have shown that African American men are at greater risk than other men for prostate cancer in terms of both incidence and mortality. At the same time, the utility of screening asymptomatic men for prostate cancer remains controversial. The combination of high incidence and high mortality with the uncertain benefits of screening poses a difficult problem for African American men. This study was part of an ongoing project that sought to develop and evaluate health education materials designed to help African American men make an informed decision about prostate cancer screening. The project represented a collaboration between the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia and the Lombardi Cancer Center of Georgetown University.

Methods: The authors conducted eight focus groups with 44 members of the Prince Hall Masons. The focus groups covered men's understanding of prostate cancer screening and their preferences for methods of health education.

Results: Participants demonstrated a high level of awareness of the availability of prostate cancer screening, a low awareness of the screening controversy, and a desire for detailed epidemiologic information and information about the benefits and limitations of screening. The preferred forms of educational materials were video and print-based materials, which the research team has recently developed.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the feasibility of developing an academic-community collaboration with the goal of improving a health-related problem in the African American community. A randomized trial is underway to evaluate the impact of the video and print education materials.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers*
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Cancer Care Facilities / organization & administration
  • Community Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Decision Making
  • District of Columbia / epidemiology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Organizations, Nonprofit*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Teaching Materials