Neither family history nor perceived risk of prostate cancer affects m
Research Activities, February 2009, No. 342
Neither family history nor perceived risk of prostate cancer affects men's screening or preventive behaviors
A disproportionate number of black men are already symptomatic by the time they are diagnosed with prostate cancer compared with white men. This disparity does not arise from less preventive actions due to inaccurate risk perceptions, but rather, it may be due to disparity in access to a regular physician and physician trust. This disparity ultimately leads fewer black men to seek prostate care or screenings, suggest the authors of a new study.
The researchers found that among men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, black men with a family history of the disease were less likely than similar white men to appreciate their increased risk. Yet, neither reporting a family history of prostate cancer nor perceived increased risk significantly predicted screening or preventive behaviors among black or white men studied in North Carolina. Instead, more trust in one's physician predicted increased likelihood of having regular prostate exams and screening. This suggests that racial differences in seeking prostate care may be mediated through physician trust, note the study authors. Also, expressed personal responsibility for screening and more frequent preventive behaviors were associated with more frequent screening diagnoses, fewer symptomatic diagnoses, and less frequent advanced cancers.
Together, these findings indicate that men's appreciation of their greater risk for prostate cancer is not sufficient to ensure that men will take appropriate action. The findings were based a survey of North Carolina black and white men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, which asked them about their family history and perceived risk of the disease, as well as use of various screening and preventive behaviors. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS10861).
See "Perceived family history risk and symptomatic diagnosis of prostate cancer," by Pamela Spain, Ph.D., William R. Carpenter, M.H.A., Ph.D., James A. Talcott, M.D., S.M., and others, in the October 15, 2008, Cancer 113, pp. 2180-2187.