Race/ethnicity and the perception of the risk of developing prostate cancer

Am J Prev Med. 2009 Jul;37(1):64-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.03.007. Epub 2009 May 7.


Background: Although the higher risk of prostate cancer for African-American men is well known in the medical community, it is not clear how prevalent this knowledge is among African-American men themselves. Both the side effects of treatment and the lack of a demonstrated mortality benefit of routine screening with the prostate-specific antigen test among men in the general population have increased the focus on patient participation in decision making about prostate cancer screening.

Methods: Data on 1075 male respondents to the 2003 Health Information National Trends Study were collected from October 2002 to April 2003 and analyzed in 2008 to examine the associations among race/ethnicity, demographic characteristics, and the perception of the risk of developing prostate cancer for African-American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white men aged >or=45 years without a history of prostate cancer.

Results: Nearly 50% of African-American men, 47.4% of Hispanic men, and 43.3% of non-Hispanic white men perceived their likelihood of getting prostate cancer as somewhat or very low. Nearly 18% of African-American men, 21.6% of Hispanic men, and 12.9% of non-Hispanic white men perceived themselves to be more likely to get prostate cancer than the average man of the same age.

Conclusions: Despite statistics to the contrary, few African-American men perceived themselves to have a higher-than-average risk of prostate cancer, while a higher percentage of Hispanic men perceived their risk to be higher than that of the average man of the same age. These findings suggest that all men, but particularly African-American and Hispanic men, could benefit from information regarding their specific risk of developing prostate cancer before making a decision about prostate cancer screening.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Perception
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*