The Relationship Between Education and Prostate-Specific Antigen Testing Among Urban African American Medicare Beneficiaries

PURPOSE: We examined the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) cancer screening among older African American men.

METHODS: We analyzed baseline data from a sample of 485 community-dwelling African American men who participated in the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Demonstration Trial. The outcome was receipt of PSA screening within the past year. SES was measured using income and educational attainment. Sequential multivariate logistic regression models were performed to study whether health care access, patient-provider relationship, and cancer fatalism mediated the relationship between SES and PSA screening.

RESULTS: Higher educational attainment was significantly associated with higher odds of PSA screening in the past year (odds ratio (OR) 2.08 for college graduate compared to less than high school graduate, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.03-4.24); income was not. Health care access and patient-provider communication did not alter the relationship between education and screening; however, beliefs regarding cancer fatalism partially mediated the observed relationship.

CONCLUSION: Rates of prostate cancer screening among African American men vary by level of educational attainment; beliefs concerning cancer fatalism help explain this gradient. Understanding the determinants of cancer fatalism is a critical next step in building interventions that seek to ensure equitable access to prostate cancer screening.