A qualitative meta-synthesis examining the role of women in African American men's prostate cancer screening and treatment decision-making

Being an African American man is a risk factor for prostate cancer and there is little consensus about the utility of screening, early detection, and the efficacy of treatment for the disease. In this context, this systematic review examines the roles women, particularly wives, play in African American men's prostate cancer screening and treatment decision-making.

We searched OVID Medline (R), CINAHL (EBSCO), PsychInfo (EBSCO), PubMED, Cochrane Library, ERIC (Firstsearch) and Web of Science to identify peer-review articles published between 1980-2016 that reported qualitative data about prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, or treatment in African American men. We conducted a systematic review of the literature using study appraisal and narrative synthesis.

Following PRISMA guidelines for identifying and screening 1,425 abstracts and papers, we identified ten papers that met our criteria. From our thematic meta-synthesis of the findings from these publications, we found that women played three key roles in African American men's decision-making regarding prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, or treatment: Counselor (i.e., offering advice or information), Coordinator (i.e., promoting healthy behaviors and arranging or facilitating appointments), and Confidant (i.e., providing emotional support and reassurance).

Women are often important confidants to whom men express their struggles, fears and concerns, particularly those related to health, and they help men make appointments, understand medical advice. Better understanding women's supportive roles in promoting positive mental and physical outcomes may be a key to developing effective interventions to improve African American men's decision-making and satisfaction regarding prostate cancer screening and treatment.

Psycho-oncology. 2017 Oct 21 [Epub ahead of print]

Erin M Bergner, Emily K Cornish, Kenay Horne, Derek M Griffith

Center for Research on Men's Health, Vanderbilt University., Tennessee State University.