Men's knowledge and beliefs about prostate cancer: education, race, and screening status

Ethn Dis. 2009 Spring;19(2):199-203.


Objective: African American men die from prostate cancer at higher rates than do White men, a health disparity that may result from differences in knowledge and beliefs about prostate cancer and screening. Studies conflict on whether race or socioeconomic status affects knowledge of prostate cancer and screening. This study compared education, race, and screening status to determine how each factor shapes men's knowledge of prostate cancer and screening.

Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 65 African American and White men, aged 40-64 years, with diverse educational backgrounds.

Results: Education, not race or screening status, was associated with knowledge about the prostate gland, prostate cancer symptoms and screening tests, and fear of prostate cancer. The exception was knowledge about the prostate-specific antigen blood test, which was associated with education and screening status.

Conclusion: This study suggests that education may be associated with prostate cancer and screening knowledge. Interventions should focus on all men with low education to correct their misconceptions about prostate cancer and to engage them in shared decision-making about screening.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Digital Rectal Examination
  • Educational Status
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / ethnology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / therapy
  • White People / psychology*


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen