Does Educational Interventions Effect Prostate Cancer Screening Participation?

Smith, Alisa




Background: Evidence suggests prostate cancer screening reduces mortality rates by 20%, reinforcing the need for the healthcare professionals to discuss this issue with adult men.  As current guidelines advise men be provided factual data to make an informed decision regarding prostate cancer screening (PCS), it has been suggested that educational interventions may improve PCS rates. 

Aim: The purpose of this evidenced-based review was to evaluate the impact of PCS education interventions on men’s knowledge of PCS, intent to engage in screening or actual participation in prostate cancer screening. 

Methods: An electronic search was conducted to identify studies from 2000-2010 in CINAHL, Medline, EBSCO, PubMed and Cochrane library databases using the primary term prostate cancer, with secondary terms: screening, interventions, decision aids, education, and knowledge. The search was limited to peer-reviewed articles in the English language that were of quantitative design with samples of men. The search yielded 50 hits. With review, only seven articles were randomized controlled trials with a PCS education intervention that measured the identified outcomes and met inclusion criteria. 

Findings: Education interventions demonstrated increases in men’s knowledge of PCS. However, increased knowledge did not result in increased rates of PCS or intent to get screened.  Often participants were less likely to intend to seek testing after receiving the intervention.  The samples were not ethnically diverse and describe the behaviors of Caucasian men.

Implications for Nursing Practice:  Standardized education did not result in patient participation in PCS. This suggests counseling in this patient population should be tailored to address the risks and benefits of screening for individual clients.  Future studies should include more multicultural groups especially those at greatest risk for prostate cancer, such as African American men. Further reviews should also examine interventions that address other factors that prevent participation in prostate cancer screening.