Organization

Oregon State University

Project Description

This study will be conducted in Spring of 2004. Male Alumni and current students of a large university between the age of 18 and 40 years of age will be recruited to participate in this study. A sample of 308 men will be randomly selected from a pool of potential subjects who have provided an email address for university correspondence. The study is limited to males only, as the primary research question is about male reproductive cancers, and specifically seeks to understand men’s knowledge of these cancers relative to what they know of breast cancer in women. The participant population will not be limited by race or ethnicity in this study.
The goal of this research-based thesis is to gain insight into the factors of the Health Belief Model and theory of reasoned action related to various health protective behaviors in men age 18-40 years of age. In addition, the study will contrast men’s knowledge, attitudes, and risk perceptions of prostate cancer with that of breast cancer. Specifically the study will seek determine the following:
1. What are the current levels of knowledge, attitudes, perceived threats, perceived barriers, and perceived benefits for prostate cancer?
2. What are the current levels of knowledge, attitudes, and perceived risks for breast cancer in women?
3. To what extent do the constructs of the Health Belief Model and the Theory of Reasoned action correlate with intention to discuss prostate cancer with others, screen for prostate cancer, or remain informed about prostate cancer?
4. Do the current levels of knowledge of breast cancer in women and knowledge of prostate cancer differ significantly?
5. Do the general attitudes regarding breast cancer and general attitudes regarding prostate cancer differ significantly?
6. What are the primary sources of information about prostate, and breast cancers?
7. Who do men talk to about prostate and breast cancer, if anyone?

The survey will be conducted on-line, via the Internet. An electronic invitation to participate in the study will be sent to each potential participant. The invitation will provide a brief description of the project along with an HTML link to the survey for those individuals who choose to participate. Up to three additional reminder emails spaced at one week intervals from the original mailing will be sent to those who do not respond. The total participation time will be 20-30 minutes and will require access to an Internet connection.

Project Abstract

Aside from cancers of the skin, prostate cancer is the leading cancer diagnosed among males throughout their adult years and this trend has remained stable for the past several decades (Ries et al., 2002). Despite the relatively high risk men face of developing a reproductive cancer in their lifetime, little is known about the health behaviors, knowledge, and perceptions of these cancers in younger adult males. Education, and health promotion efforts remain relatively ineffective and unacknowledged despite the promise of cancer prevention through health screening, and healthier lifestyle practices (Zhou & Blackburn, 1997; Wilson et al., 1997; Kolonel et al, 2000; American Cancer Society, 2002). By comparison, breast cancer in women, a cancer of comparable burden and impact to that of prostate cancer, has received more than 10 times the media coverage of prostate cancer (Clarke, 1999), and women over 40 years of age have been consistently more likely to be aware of breast cancer, than men of similar age are to demonstrate the same for prostate cancer (e.g. Dolan, Lee, & McDermott, 1997; Partnership for Prostate Health, 2001).
In an effort to reduce the incidence of reproductive cancers in adult males national health recommendations have suggested that a greater emphasis be placed upon fostering preventative health behaviors among adult men, yet little is known about health behaviors, knowledge, awareness and risk perceptions related to prostate cancer among men younger than 40 years of age. Furthermore, given the extensive media coverage of breast cancer in women relative to prostate cancer in men, there is reason to believe that men may know more about breast cancer in women they do about the cancers they are most at risk of developing themselves. This study will explore the knowledge, awareness, perceptions and health seeking behaviors of men for prostate cancer, and will contrast these factors to what men know about breast cancer. This research is intended to be utilized in a thesis, and possible publication.

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