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Urology. 2002 Jun;59(6):895-900.

Knowledge and beliefs among brothers and sons of men with prostate cancer.

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  • 1Departments of Urology and Health Services, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.



To describe prostate cancer knowledge and beliefs, important predictors of screening behavior, in first-degree relatives of men with prostate cancer and to compare the knowledge with beliefs about familial risk.


We sent a letter to 837 men with prostate cancer to invite their brothers and/or sons aged 40 to 70 years to participate in the study. Their first-degree relatives who responded received a survey to explore their prostate cancer family history, prostate cancer knowledge, self-efficacy, barriers to screening, perceived benefits, perceived vulnerability, social support, and sociodemographic and medical characteristics.


Of 139 participants (age 53 +/- 9 years), 92% were white, and 27% had more than one relative with prostate cancer. Ninety-eight percent of men answered at least one half of the knowledge questions correctly. Older men responded correctly more often than did younger men. Physician recommendations did not appear to be associated with better knowledge about familial risk. Among the 105 subjects (76%) who knew about familial risk, only 65 (62%) believed they themselves were at higher risk of prostate cancer than the average American man. Most of the beliefs were favorable to screening.


Prostate cancer knowledge appeared high, although, surprisingly, familial risk was not the best understood domain. Physician recommendations were not associated with better knowledge about familial risk. Many men underestimated their own risk of developing prostate cancer, even among those with good knowledge about familial risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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