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Cancer. 2001 Jan 1;91(1):164-72.

Prostate carcinoma knowledge, attitudes, and screening behavior among African-American men in Central Harlem, New York City.

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Harlem Prevention Center, New York, New York, USA.



Although the benefits of prostate carcinoma screening in reducing mortality rates have not been proven or shown to be cost-effective, screening, particularly using prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests, is widespread. A better understanding of screening behavior, knowledge of prostate carcinoma risk, and attitudes toward screening among men at high risk, such as African-American men, would be valuable.


A prevalence survey was conducted using 2 samples of African-American men, aged 50-74 years: a clinic sample drawn from all clinics in Central Harlem (n = 404) and a random-digit dial sample from the same geographic region (n = 319). The prevalence of self-reported PSA screening was estimated using a cognitive survey methodology based on the internal consistency of answers to four different questions. Prevalence estimates were adjusted to take into account the high proportion of nontelephone residences.


The clinic sample, representing a poorer, more ill population (as determined by MOS Physical Function Scores, was less likely to report PSA screening than the community sample (11.1% in clinic sample vs. 25.5% in community). The prevalence of PSA testing in Central Harlem overall in this age group by using two different techniques was estimated to be 24%. In multiple logistic models, self-reported PSA screening was associated with age, education, favorable attitudes toward screening, and knowing someone who had prostate carcinoma. However, the association between these factors and the likelihood of self-reported PSA screening differed between clinic and community samples.


The prevalence of self-reported PSA screening in Central Harlem was lower than that reported for other populations. These findings may be useful in the design of health education campaigns and for counseling innercity, low-income African-American patients appropriately about the disease.

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