A growing body of epidemiologic and laboratory data suggests the existence of familial and hereditary forms of prostate cancer. To date, however, there has been no systematic research investigating the behavioral aspects of familial risk for prostate cancer. It is not known if men with family histories of prostate cancer perceive their risk to be greater, adhere to screening recommendations, or express interest in genetic susceptibility testing. Of particular importance, is the subgroup of men at familial risk who may be carrying an altered gene. Accordingly, the specific aims of the present study are to: 1) examine the relation between family history of prostate cancer and levels of perceived risk, anxiety, and risk factor knowledge for prostate cancer, 2) examine the relation between family history of prostate cancer and utilization of prostate cancer screening methods; 3) determine the level of interest and the factors related to interest in genetic testing for prostate cancer susceptibility; and 4) identify possible differences between African-American men and white men in health beliefs and practices regarding prostate cancer. To address these aims, the proposed study will use a case control design in which the first degree male relatives of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will serve as cases. Controls will be recruited using family history data obtained from the friends of index patients' relatives. The responses of cases and controls will be compared on behavioral and psychological measures. In order to explore possible ethnic/racial differences in behavioral aspects of familial risk, approximately half the participants will be African-American males with and without family histories of prostate cancer. Prior to conducting analyses related to the study questions, we will first conduct analyses of variance and contingency analyses to confirm that the positive and negative family history groups are similar in terms of their sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., age, education, marital status, and household income). For each of the four aims a series of one-way ANOVA's, non-parametric tests, logistic and multiple regression analyses, and multiple comparison tests will be used for data analyses. This is the first study to look at the behavioral factors in men at familial risk for prostate cancer and how these factors influence screening behaviors and willingness to undergo genetic testing. The results of this study are expected to lay the groundwork for future behavioral intervention studies.
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