Barber, K.R., Shaw, R., Folts, M. et al. Journal of Community Health (1998) 23: 441. doi:10.1023/A:1018758124614
Prostate cancer is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in the male population, but public awareness of the cancer has been reported as minimal. We evaluated the effectiveness of an educational prostate cancer screening program on 944 men in a midwest urban community. Digital rectal examinations and PSA blood tests were provided at no charge to participants with a grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health. An educational intervention that stressed the importance of prostate cancer early detection and treatment was conducted before screenings. A brief questionnaire administered before and after the videotape and screenings, targeted both knowledge and attitudes concerning prostate cancer. Pre-test results revealed that African American men were significantly (t = 3.7, P = .00) less likely then white men to correctly identify early symptoms of prostate cancer and the basic components of a prostate checkup. Following program involvement, scores significantly improved in all areas and differences were no longer significant between the races. Racial differences were also found for screening preferences and modes of reaching men to participate in screening. African American men were twice as likely as white men to choose private appointments over mass screening (OR = 2.2, P = .00). Radio reached the most African Americans (25%) while newspaper reached the most Caucasians (34%). The decreased level of knowledge among African Americans regarding prostate etiology and clinical factors highlights the need for educational programs to target minority populations. The need for discretion also applies by providing minority-favored access with screening through private appointments.