Davis JL. Am J Mens Health.
Despite having higher cancer mortality rates for all
sites combined compared with women, men are less willing to participate in
cancer screening, according to researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa,
Fla., and colleagues at Sanoa Consulting LLC, Muscle Shoals, Ala., and the New
York University College of Dentistry.
The study, recently published online, was conducted
through a stratified, random-dial telephone survey of 1,148 adults living in
New York City, Baltimore, Maryland and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Each of the three
cities was sampled independently, focusing on certain race/ethnic group targets
in each city: 300 Puerto Rican Hispanics (150 in San Juan, 150 New York City);
300 African Americans (150 in Baltimore, 150 in New York City); and 300 whites
(150 in New York City, 150 in Baltimore).
Study results demonstrated that participants’
belief in the effectiveness of
cancer screening was not statistically significant;
approximately the same percentage of men and women believed cancer screenings
detected cancer all or most of the time (67% and 66%, respectively). However,
41% of men reported never having a cancer screening in the past compared with
5% of women.
According to researchers, this discrepancy in
participation may be because women have more “ongoing, routine”
opportunities to be screened when visiting their primary care doctor —
menstrual problems, pregnancies — whereas men lack comparable health
events and media coverage about
prostate cancer. In addition, men have to deal with the
uncertainties of cancer screening benefits and making an informed decision to
participate in common screening for prostate cancer.
“Another main finding of our study was that men
were less willing than women to participate when asked a general question about
participating in a [cancer screening] at the present time, but when given
various descriptions of screening conditions (ie, who conducts the screening
and what one has to do during the screening), they were slightly more willing
to participate than women,” the researchers wrote. “When told more
specific details about the [cancer screening], men seemed to be more willing to
participate compared with being asked about getting a [cancer screening] at the
present time with no specific details.”
The researchers concluded that, “Health educators,
physicians and community-based organizations should make a concerted effort to
educate men on the exact screening procedures, how cancer is detected, and what
to expect during the screening. Men seem to be eager for sufficient
explanations about health exams in order to have a good experience during the
exam and to learn more about making a decision for participating.”
Disclosure: The study was supported by grant U54
DE 14257 from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial
Research/National Institutes of Health (NIDCR/NIH), the New York University
Oral Cancer Research on Adolescent and Adult Health Promotion Center (an Oral
Health Disparities Research Center).