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

Bergner, E. M., Cornish, E. K., Horne, K., & Griffith, D. M., (2017). A qualitative meta-synthesis examining the role of women in African American men’s prostate cancer screening and treatment decision making. Psycho-Oncology, 27, 781-790.

Objective: Being an African American man is a risk factor for prostate cancer, and there is little consensus about the use 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. 

Methods: We searched OVID Medline (R), CINAHL (EBSCO), PsychInfo (EBSCO), PubMED, Cochrane Library, ERIC (Firstsearch), and Web of Science to identify peer‐reviewed articles published between 1980 and 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. 

Results: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for identifying and screening 1425 abstracts and papers, we identified 10 papers that met our criteria. From our thematic meta‐synthesis of the findings from these publications, we found that women played 3 key roles in African American men's decision making regarding prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, or treatment: counselor (ie, offering advice or information), coordinator (ie, promoting healthy behaviors and arranging or facilitating appointments), and confidant (ie, providing emotional support and reassurance). 

Conclusions: 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 and understand medical advice. Better understanding women's supportive roles in promoting positive mental and physical outcomes may be key to developing effective interventions to improve African American men's decision making and satisfaction regarding prostate cancer screening and treatment. 

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