Purpose: Both incidence and mortality rates for prostate cancer are significantly higher in African American men than in white men. This report identifies community sites for the optimal recruitment of African American men into prostate cancer screening.
Description of study: A descriptive study was conducted, providing an educational program to 1369 African American men, 1264 of whom completed a survey on demographic data, prostate cancer knowledge, and prostate cancer screening history. The programs were offered at six different types of community sites, including various work sites, churches, housing projects, National Association for Advancement of Colored Persons (NAACP) sites, barber shops, and a state fairground. Free prostate cancer screening was offered to all participants.
Results: The advertised mass screening site (state fairground), the most common method used nationally to recruit African American men for cancer screening, was the least effective site, with only 16 men completing the survey. Of the 1264 men completing the survey at all community sites, 597 men (47%) did so at work sites and 438 (35%) did so at churches. Per site, the largest percentage of men who had never been screened was at work sites (n = 276, 46%) and NAACP sites (n = 22, 33.8%). The highest percentage of men who obtained free screening were at the state fairground (14 of 16), churches (256 of 438), and work sites (336 of 597). The most prostate cancers were detected at the housing projects, where 3 of 38 (7.9%) men who were screened received diagnoses of prostate cancer.
Clinical implications: To reduce prostate mortality rates in African American men, healthcare providers need to make a concerted effort to increase prostate cancer education and screening in this population. To be effective, recruitment of African American men must move from a provider/health site orientation to a consumer/community orientation. These findings indicate that recruitment strategies are more successful if efforts are based in the community or where a large number of African American men live and/or work. Because a history of screening has been shown to be a predictor for current participation, programs need to target men who have not had previous screening ever or within the last year. In addition, the large percentage of men recruited at work sites who had not been screened previously indicates an opportunity for collaboration with healthcare professionals in employee health programs. Efforts to increase participation in prostate cancer screening will be enhanced significantly by eliciting the active involvement of community leaders.