Changing the conversation about prostate cancer among African Americans: results of formative research

Ricardo Wray, Santosh Vijaykumar, Stephanie McClure, Christopher Smith, Andrae Ivy, Keri Jupka, Richard Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


To understand obstacles to and opportunities for improving prostate cancer communication to and within African American communities.

Researchers conducted interviews with 19 community leaders and five focus groups with healthy men and survivors. The team also conducted process evaluations of two outreach projects in which survivors spoke to African American men about prostate cancer and screening.

Three levels of obstacles to prostate cancer screening and treatment were identified. Individual-level obstacles included limited knowledge about the condition, about prevention and treatment, and fear of cancer. Socio-cultural barriers included distrust of the medical system, lack of a provider for routine and preventive care, reluctance to talk about cancer, and aversion to aspects of screening. Institutional deficits included the scarcity of educational efforts targeting prostate cancer. Outreach project evaluations suggested that survivors can be effective in building prostate cancer knowledge, promoting positive attitudes toward screening, and fostering conversations about prostate cancer. Educational efforts included little information about screening risks and decision-making however.

The findings suggest that most potent interventions may combine survivor-led education with mass media and institution-based outreach. Such comprehensive programs could shift social norms that inhibit conversation and foster fear, leading in turn to more informed decisions and better treatment outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-43
Number of pages17
JournalEthnicity & Health
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2009
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


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