Background: Incidence rates for many types of cancer are higher among African American men than in the general population, yet African American men are less likely to participate in cancer screening trials. This paper describes the outcomes of a randomized trial (the AAMEN Project) designed to recruit African American men aged 55-74 years to a prostate, lung and colorectal cancer screening trial.
Methods: The recruitment interventions address four types of barriers to clinical trial participation: sociocultural barriers, economic barriers, individual barriers and barriers inherent in study design. Subjects were randomized to a control group or one of three increasingly intensive intervention arms, which used different combinations of mail, phone and in person church-based recruitment.
Results: Of the 39,432 African American men residing in the geographically defined study population (southeastern Michigan and northern Ohio), 17,770 men (45%) could be contacted, and 12,400 (31% of 39,432) were found to be eligible to participate. No statistically significant differences in age, education or income level were found among participants in the four study arms. A significantly greater enrollment yield (3.9%) was seen in the most intensive, church-based intervention arm, compared to the enrollment yields in the other two intervention arms (2.5 and 2.8%) or the control group (2.9%) (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: The intervention that involved the highest rate of face-to-face contact with the study participants produced the highest enrollment yield, but several strategies that were thought could improve yield had no effect. These findings, which are consistent with current literature on population-based recruitment, should facilitate the development of future recruitment efforts involving older African American men.