MedWire News: Research has linked low patient awareness of the prostate-specific antigen test to health risk behaviours such as smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption.
A low awareness of prostate-specific antigen testing is thought to contribute to a decreased likelihood of patients undergoing prostate cancer screening. Previous studies also suggest a link between seeking cancer information and the likelihood of patients undergoing cancer screening, and healthy behaviours.
Dr Firas Ahmed and team from the Columbia University in New York, USA, evaluated the health records of 7297 men aged at least 50 years without a history of prostate cancer. Records were obtained from the 2003 population-based California Health Interview Survey.
Overall, 73% of men surveyed were aware of prostate-specific antigen testing. Awareness dropped considerably among current smokers, physically inactive men and obese men.
The findings suggest that these health risk behaviour variables are inversely associated with prostate cancer screening awareness, the authors explain in the Journal of Urology. Notably, the behaviours are also linked with higher prostate cancer morbidity and mortality.
"Given the associations between smoking, physical activity and obesity with prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, men with multiple risk behaviours would seem to be ideal targets for interventions to improve their awareness of the prostate specific antigen test," the authors conclude.