Objectives: To investigate the epidemiology of prostate cancer (PCa) in western Jamaica and describe the health-seeking behaviour of at-risk men.
Methods: This study contained both quantitative and qualitative components. The quantitative portion consisted of a retrospective, matched case-control study of two hundred and four men attending outpatient clinics who completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire. The qualitative component consisted of two focus group discussions designed to further investigate health-seeking behaviour and preferred educational channels regarding PCa.
Results: Four risk factors were identified: family history of PCa (OR 3.39, 95% CI 1.73, 6.66), age (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.41, 2.74), any sexually transmitted disease (STD) history (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.07, 3.83) and alcohol consumption (OR 1.86, 95% CI 1.00, 3.47). Knowledge of primary risk factors was low, especially for race (37%). Although 81% of controls knew tests were available, a stigma was associated with testing. The screening rate was higher than previously reported but still low (56% of controls), and PCa in the western region is discovered by symptoms 61% of the time. Focus group participants blamed a “male-mentality” that is antagonistic to routine medical care and preventive testing.
Conclusions: Family history, age, STDs and alcohol consumption were identified as risk factors for PCa in western Jamaica. Sexually transmitted disease history and alcohol consumption are interesting results that merit further investigation. Prostate cancer continues to be diagnosed primarily by symptoms, indicating that routine testing is not widespread enough to catch the disease in its early stages when treatment is most effective. A negative image of prostate screenings persists and targeted educational interventions are needed to improve outcomes.