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J Natl Med Assoc. 1997 Jun;89(6):387-91.

African-American males and prostate cancer: assessing knowledge levels in the community.

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Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, University of Florida Health Science Center, Jacksonville, USA.


Although the available evidence indicates that African-American males are at risk for developing prostate cancer, little is known about the level of awareness among African Americans about prostate cancer or how receptive they are to screening. This study examined the level of knowledge African-American males have about prostate cancer and the factors affecting knowledge levels. Face-to-face interviews were conducted among a sample of African-American males older than 25 years. All respondents were asked if they knew what prostate cancer was (N = 897), and those older than age 40 (N = 556) answered a series of seven questions related to prostate cancer. An index was created that reflected respondents level of knowledge about prostate cancer. Slightly more than 19% of the sample scored relatively high on the index related to prostate cancer knowledge, but 30% answered three or fewer questions correctly. Income, marital status, education, and type of insurance were significantly related to a respondent's level of knowledge. Having a regular physician and discussing prostate screening with a physician were both positively related to a respondent's level of understanding. This study indicates that African-American men do not have adequate knowledge about prostate cancer. Although many African Americans may be getting the prostate cancer message, educational efforts need to be strengthened to reach the less affluent and the less educated. These findings also raise questions about why more African-American men are not being screened and why more primary care physicians are not discussing prostate cancer with their African-American patients.

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