African-American men's perceptions about prostate cancer: implications for designing educational interventions

Soc Sci Med. 2007 Jun;64(11):2189-200. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.01.007. Epub 2007 Mar 30.


This qualitative study explores African-American men's perceptions about prostate cancer (CaP) screening and assesses the acceptability of various strategies and settings for interventions to promote informed decision-making. We conducted four focus groups among healthy men (n=37) and two groups among CaP survivors (n=14) aged 35-70 in the greater Boston area, USA. Also, we conducted 14 in-depth interviews with key community informants. The audio-taped focus groups and interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emergent themes. Except for survivors, men had insufficient information about the prostate, the elevated cancer risk among African-Americans, and the controversy concerning screening. Key informants and focus group participants cited inadequate access to services, mistrust of the health system, poor relationships with medical providers, and perceived threats to male sexuality as major barriers to receiving prostate care. They recommended that interventions be embedded in community settings, address men's overall health, and be administered by culturally competent providers, and repeatedly emphasized trust building and a sustained presence in the community. Efforts to present balanced information about CaP screening may be hindered by lingering mistrust of the medical system, poor relationships between patients and providers, and enthusiastic support for screening on the part of CaP survivors. Implications for interventions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Black or African American*
  • Boston
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Participation
  • Prostatic Neoplasms*