Racial Differences in Psychosocial Barriers to Initiate Prostate Cancer Treatment Information Seeking

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the Eighth American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference on The Science of Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved




Purpose: All men diagnosed with prostate cancer must undergo the complex process of treatment decision-making. Research indicates that most men are not prepared to fully interact with the information environment when they are initially diagnosed. The reasons behind this lack of preparedness are not fully understood. More information is needed about psychosocial facilitators and barriers to information gathering before appropriate interventions can be developed. The purpose of this research was to explore the different types of psychosocial assistance that men might need to help them begin gathering treatment information.

Methods: A purposive sample of 63 African-American and Caucasian men treated for or actively monitoring localized prostate cancer (Stage T1 or T2) was recruited to participate. All recruitment was completed via cancer registries, newspaper ads, and word-of-mouth. All participants completed a 30-45 minute self-administered survey on a laptop or touchscreen computer. Data collected included: (1) demographic information and (2) information about their self-reported levels of (a) confidence, (b) confusion, (c) worry, (d) comfort, (e) ease, and (f) organization during their initial searches for treatment information. All men received a $25.00 honorarium for participating.

Results: The mean age of participants was 64.17 years. Participants were between six months to 10 years post prostate cancer diagnosis (mean = 5.21 years, SD= 3.23). At the initial search for treatment information, the majority of men (82.5%) were not confident they knew all of the right information to look for and were not confident they could find answers for all of their questions (79.3%). When psychosocial barriers were compared by race, one significant relationship was found. A greater proportion of African Americans (19.2%) found the initial information gathering process more difficult than their Caucasian counterparts (13.5%) (p < .05).

Conclusions: Knowing what to look for and where to find answers is a common problem for both African American and Caucasian prostate cancer patients. Interventions need to be developed that make initial searches for information easier for African-American men.