Background: It is important for clinicians, researchers, and others who shape public health policy to understand the demographic correlates and psychologic factors that drive health behaviors, such as screening for early detection of cancer, particularly among individuals at high risk for developing the disease.
Methods: One-hundred eleven men whose brothers were diagnosed with prostate carcinoma completed a computer-assisted telephone interview aimed to assess their perception of absolute risk and concern about developing prostate carcinoma over the next 10 years and across their lifetime. Comparisons were made between selected demographic, behavioral, family pedigree characteristics, and measures of perceived risk and concern.
Results: The majority of men perceived their personal risk of developing prostate carcinoma to be > or =50%. Men who at the time of the interview were younger than their affected brother were significantly more concerned about prostate carcinoma and perceived their risk to be higher than men who were older than their brother. Estimates of personal risk and concern were also uniformly higher among men with more than one first-degree relative affected with prostate carcinoma compared to men with only one affected first-degree relative. Risk perception and concern about an impending prostate carcinoma diagnosis were associated with the use of supplements marketed for prostate health.
Conclusions: The findings indicated that birth order in relation to a brother diagnosed with prostate carcinoma is significantly associated with risk perception and concern in unaffected family members. These results highlight the need for further study of the familial dynamics and characteristics that drive health behaviors and stress importance of public health education to inform men of personal risk assessment as well as the risks and benefits of screening. These studies ultimately can contribute to the success of strategies for the primary prevention and early detection of cancer.
Copyright 2004 American Cancer Society.