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Racial and ethnic barriers affecting physician and patient communication about prostate cancer screening among Black male patients

Elvin A. Hernandez, DrPH Candidate, Department of Health Promotion and Education, SPH, Loma Linda University, 10970 Parkland St., Loma Linda, CA 92350, 909-558-7194, ehernandez04p@sph.llu.edu, Susanne B. Montgomery, PhD, MPH, School of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion and Education, Evaluation Research Unit, Loma Linda University, 10970 Parkland Avenue, Loma Linda, CA 92350, and Virginia Diane Woods, MSN, DrPH Student, Department of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, 10970 Parkland Street, Loma Linda, CA 92350.

Physician and patient communication is critical in assuring that information about prostate cancer screening and early detection is appropriately delivered. Cultural issues and racial tolerance may play a role in this process. In particular, Black males may possess unique cultural and racial characteristics that clinical professionals do not understand or fully acknowledge. Lack of understanding of cultural differences may affect their interaction with the men. We therefore investigated cultural and racial issues that may affect Black males health information and communication patterns with their care providers around prostate cancer screening. 276 Black males and 93 physicians who serve them completed a multi-item questionnaire. When asked whether Black men are unaware that they should be screened for prostate cancer, 62.1% of Black patients agreed, while only 0.3% of physicians believed that Black men are unaware (X2=155.205, p<0.001). When asked if doctors explained that Black men should be screened, most respondents felt that this was not explained, while most physicians felt that they informed their Black patients (X2=107.988, p<0.001). Many of our respondents had not been told to do PSA screening (65.7%) or to have a DRE (68.2%). While our respondents had a mean age of 53 years, 65% had not been told about prostate cancer screening. Identifying communication process barriers between Black male patients and physicians can assist health care providers in delivering health information and services more effectively. By understanding and acknowledging the unique cultural nuances of the Black male patients, practitioners may more effectively deliver prostate cancer screening information.

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  • Learning Objectives