Prostate cancer screening in African American men: barriers and methods for improvement

Am J Mens Health. 2008 Jun;2(2):172-7. doi: 10.1177/1557988307312784. Epub 2008 Jan 23.


African American men have the highest rate of incidence for prostate cancer in the world and are more likely to die from the disease than other ethnic groups (National Institutes of Health, 1996). Routine screening for prostate cancer can lead to early detection of the disease, thereby reducing negative outcomes, but studies have shown that African American men are less likely than Caucasian men to engage in screening practices. Lack of access to health care, socioeconomic status, inadequate knowledge, fear, patient-provider communication, distrust of the medical profession, and aversion to digital rectal exam have been identified as possible barriers to prostate cancer screening in African American men. This literature review explores causes of this striking disparity between prostate cancer incidence and mortality in African American men and cites strategies used to improve prostate cancer screening rates among this population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Communication Barriers
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Fear
  • Forecasting
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Mass Screening / trends
  • Men's Health / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States