How African American Men Decide Whether or Not to Get Prostate Cancer Screening

Randy A. Jones, PhD, RN; Richard Steeves, PhD, RN, FAAN; Ishan Williams, PhD


Cancer Nurs. 2009;32(2):166-172. 

In This Article

Conclusion and Implications

Nevertheless, the themes that emerged from this study seem to have a significant impact on the decision making of African Americans in relation to prostate cancer screening. It is important to recognize that healthcare decisions may not be easy to make, particularly when individuals do not have sufficient knowledge about the issues, a support system to assist them, or trust in healthcare providers. African American men tend to be reluctant to seek healthcare until a disease has progressed.[34] It is important for healthcare providers to be aware of these patients' needs, to include family members and/or friends in the decision-making process, and to provide patients with adequate information and resources to help them make a decision. Open communication among family members and friends who are familiar to the patient's daily life activities may assist the patient in deciding to have prostate cancer screening. Culture plays an important part in the decision-making process. Individuals' behaviors are formed and matured by beliefs, values, and attitudes that they have obtained while growing up in a particular culture; therefore, cultural values may influence how individuals process and make decisions.[35] Feldman-Steward et al[36] developed a decision aid that was cognitively based, which presented information about localized prostate cancer and helped individuals weigh attributes that would ultimately aid in making healthcare decisions. The findings of this study can assist healthcare providers in developing tailored health plans and decision aids for specific populations.

Healthcare providers should also implement a welcoming clinical environment and discuss screening/medical options in a manner that will build trusting relationships between the patient and the provider. Innovative interventions that can improve patients' (particularly African American men's) health knowledge, increase the inclusion of family and friends in decision making, and build relationships with healthcare providers are needed.

The men who participated in this study said that the study was important, and they valued the opportunity to speak openly about their experiences in deciding to obtain prostate cancer screening. Many participants felt that the study allowed them to express their thoughts and feelings about healthcare in a way that they did not normally get a chance to.[23] They appreciated the fact that the researchers were willing to listen to them and said that the information they gave would help others in the future.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.