Men with wives, significant others more likely to be screened for prostate cancer

December 08, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - Although the link between early screening and prostate cancer survival is well established, men are less likely to go for early screening unless they have a wife or significant other living with them, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"In terms of motivating people to get screened, there may be benefit in targeting wives or significant others as well as men," said lead author Lauren P. Wallner, M.P.H., a graduate research associate at the University of Michigan.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the United States, and early detection is associated with drastically improved five-year survival rates. However, what motivates a man to get screened is not known.

Wallner and colleagues identified 2,447 Caucasian men ages 40 years to 79 years from Olmstead County, Minnesota. These men completed questionnaires containing queries on family history of prostate cancer, concern about getting prostate cancer and marital status. If men had a family history of prostate cancer, they were 50 percent more likely to be screened. If men said they were worried about prostate cancer, they were nearly twice as likely to be screened.

However, the likelihood among men with a family history to get screened decreased if they lived alone. Specifically, men who lived alone were 40 percent less likely to be screened than those who were married or had a significant other in their home. Wallner said the study did not assess what caused a married man to be more likely to be screened. She also said that further studies would need to examine this effect in non-Caucasian populations.
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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and 80 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The AACR's most recent publication and its sixth major journal, Cancer Prevention Research, is dedicated exclusively to cancer prevention, from preclinical research to clinical trials. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

American Association for Cancer Research

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