Exploring health behaviors, quality of life, and support needs in African-American prostate cancer survivors: a pilot study to support future interventions

  • Melinda R. StolleyEmail author
  • Patricia Sheean
  • Lauren Matthews
  • Anjishnu Banerjee
  • Alexis Visotcky
  • Paula Papanek
  • Liana Woodley
  • Kathryn E. Flynn
Original Article



Prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are highest among African-American men. Comorbidity burden and quality of life (QOL) challenges are also high. Many factors drive these differences; health behaviors are important modifiable contributors. Studies document positive results for lifestyle interventions targeting NHW prostate cancer survivors, but inclusion of African-Americans is limited. We conducted an exploratory mixed-methods study with AAPCS to inform the development of a culturally relevant lifestyle intervention.


Twenty-two AAPCS completed questionnaires and a discussion group on dietary and physical activity patterns, QOL, and unmet needs related to lifestyle changes.


Seventy-five percent of the participants were overweight or obese, 82% had physical activity patterns considered insufficiently active and only 10% did resistance training at least twice weekly in accordance with current survivorship guidelines. Diets were high in saturated fat and sugar, low in fiber, fruit, and vegetable intake. PROMIS-29 scores indicated that AAPCS had worse physical functioning, pain interference, and sexual functioning, but less social isolation compared to the general population. Compared to other prostate cancer survivors, participants reported poorer status on all domains. Qualitative data highlighted barriers to healthy lifestyles including access, knowledge, and skills, as well as motivators including health benefits and building strength to feel more “manly.” Participants shared high interest in programs to exercise, learn about affordable healthy eating, and bring survivors together to discuss survivorship issues.


Lifestyle interventions targeting AAPCS are warranted. To increase impact of these efforts, consideration of environmental, cultural, and survivor contexts will be key.


Prostate cancer African-American Survivors Quality of life Lifestyle 



We want to thank the participants for their valuable time and thoughtful comments.

Funding information

Financial support was provided by the MCW Cancer Center and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

All study procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Center and Department of MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.School of NursingLoyola University ChicagoMaywoodUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Health and Equity, Division of BiostatisticsMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Exercise ScienceMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA

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