Family and Friend Interactions among African-American Men Deciding Whether or not to have a Prostate Cancer Screening

 Prostate cancer disproportionately affects African-American men. Family, friends, and trust in health care providers are factors that influence the decision making of African-American men when determining whether or not to get a prostate cancer screening done.
Introduction: African-American men are approximately 2.4 times more likely to die of prostate cancer when compared to Caucasian men. Since prostate cancer screening is controversial, there lies a greater need to understand the decision-making factors for screening.
Purpose: Cancer patients and patients at high risk for cancer face difficult decisions in choosing what is most appropriate for them and how to access resources. The purpose of this study was to examine how rural African-American men decide whether or not to have a prostate cancer screening.
Methods: A qualitative research design was used to examine rural African-American men's experiences in decision making as it relates to prostate cancer screening. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to analyze data. This approach focuses on the lived experiences of participants, as well as the meanings of their experiences.
Findings: Seventeen rural African-American men were interviewed about whether or not to have a prostate cancer screening. Three themes emerged from the findings: 1) family and friend involvement is important, 2) trust in the doctor is necessary, and 3) knowing a friend or family member with prostate cancer impacts decision making. The involvement of family and friends in the decision-making process for prostate cancer screening became prominent among the participants.
Conclusions: Opinions of family and friends were highly valued and had a great impact on the participants' decision-making process. A combination of informal and formal support resources influenced the men's decision for prostate cancer screening.