Individual behaviors and perceptions strongly affect racial disparities in the prevention and early detection of prostate cancer, according to a study released today by Folakemi Odedina, PhD, a professor in the University of Florida (UF) colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, at the Prostate Cancer Research Program?s (PCRP?s) Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today (IMPaCT) conference in Orlando, Fla.

The American Cancer Society estimated that approximately 217,730 men in the U.S. would be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 32,050 men would lose their life to this disease in 2010. While men of any race or socioeconomic groups may develop prostate cancer, the American Cancer Society also reports that the incidence rate among African American men is 60 percent greater than among Caucasian men, and African American men are more than twice as likely to die from the disease.

Health disparity
?We hope to see a day when the gap in health disparity is closed, reducing the number of prostate cancer deaths among Black men who continue to die from prostate cancer at an alarming rate,? said Dr. Odedina. ?The results of our study will provide a better understanding of the behaviors and perceptions of Black men, helping us to determine the most effective methods to empower them to be proactive in the risk reduction and early diagnosis of prostate cancer.?

Perceived susceptibility, attitude, perceived control, cues to action
With over 3,400 participants, Dr. Odedina?s study concluded that prostate cancer health behaviors were determined by the perceived susceptibility, attitude, perceived control, cues to action, knowledge, and acculturation of the men in the following ways:
? Prostate cancer risk reduction behaviors: Research showed that prevention among Black men was lacking because they had low perception of prostate cancer severity and susceptibility, low prostate cancer knowledge, and minimal strategies to inform them about and activate prostate cancer prevention/early detection behaviors.
? Prostate cancer screening behaviors: Research showed that information seeking about prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening among Black men was low because they had low perception of prostate cancer susceptibility, low prostate cancer knowledge, and found screening-related behaviors to be difficult.
? Perceived severity: Black men who had a higher perception of the severity of the disease were less likely to demonstrate risk reduction behavior. A high percentage of study participants showed an overall lack of interest in furthering their overall understanding of prostate cancer because they related the disease directly with death.
? Attitude: Positive evaluations about prostate cancer prevention and screening procedures will result in higher risk reduction and early detection behaviors.
? Perceived behavioral control: Men who believed they had the ability to control the disease demonstrated an increased interest in risk reduction behavior and prostate cancer screening tests.
? Cues to action: The majority of the men in the study responded that they were more likely to seek prostate cancer screening if their physician recommended it. However, close to half of the participants noted that their providers did not address the disease during their visit.
? Knowledge: With mean prostate cancer knowledge score of only 53% (compared to a score of 70%, considered to reflect a more appropriate level of knowledge), there is still much work that needs to be done to educate Black men about prostate cancer, especially with respect to their risk assessment.
? Acculturation: Acculturation is the theory that a non-dominant group (e.g., Black men) will adopt the beliefs and actions of the dominant group (e.g., Caucasian men) over time. This study determined that the higher the level of acculturation, the higher the likelihood that a Black man would actively seek information about prostate cancer and disease screening.

Dr. Odedina, Director of Community Outreach and Minority Affairs at the UF Prostate Disease Center, continues to build on her discoveries, focusing future efforts on how to effectively change the behaviors among Black men. She is currently working with the American Cancer Society to develop effective health promotion interventions to promote prostate cancer risk reduction and informed decision about screening among Black men. These culturally relevant and effective interventions will have a significant impact on future efforts to resolve prostate cancer disparities.

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The PCRP, a program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), funded the studies. The program is committed to improving early diagnosis and detection, developing new and effective therapies and prognostic tools, and improving the quality of life for all persons affected by prostate cancer.

?Since its inception, the PCRP has been committed to resolving prostate cancer health disparity,? said Navy Captain Melissa Kaime, MD, Director of the CDMRP. ?The discoveries made by Dr. Odedina and other PCRP-funded doctors and scientists have opened new avenues of investigation about the disproportionate effect of prostate cancer on African American men. Their efforts have the ability to impact the future of the health behavior landscape for millions of men suffering from the disease.?

The study ?Modifiable Prostate Cancer Risk Reduction and Early Detection Behaviors in Black Men? was conducted by Folakemi Odedina, University of Florida in colaboration with researchers from Florida A&M University, University of South Florida, Central Florida Pharmacy Council, Florida Black Living Navigator and the University of Florida.

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