News Release

AACR: Video educates and connects men to prostate cancer screening options

Piloted by Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Community Outreach and Engagement team, the effort aims to reach diverse populations and address prostate cancer screening disparities

Reports and Proceedings

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

SAN DIEGO – As part of a comprehensive effort to improve cancer screenings among diverse communities, Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) Community Outreach and Engagement team developed a culturally sensitive educational video to address prostate cancer screening disparities. In findings shared today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2024 (Abstract LB371), the team showed that the video increased knowledge about prostate cancer and screening, and reduced uncertainty about obtaining prostate cancer screening in a diverse group of more than 600 men over age 40 who viewed the video during 14 different community health events in the Philadelphia region. Based on post-video surveys, 93 percent of men said they intended to undergo a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening blood test for prostate cancer, which the research team offered at the same time as part of the community events.

“We know that cancer screenings save lives, and part of our work is to dispel the myths and misconceptions around screening to help ensure that individuals from all backgrounds understand their screening options,” said senior author Carmen Guerra, MD, professor and vice chair of Diversity and Inclusion in the division of Internal Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and associate director of Diversity and Outreach at the ACC. “The idea of a physical prostate exam is off-putting to many men, so we want them to know that a simple, non-invasive blood test to check PSA levels is also an option to screen for prostate cancer.”

Prostate cancer disproportionately affects Black men, who are more likely to be diagnosed with and to die from the disease, and less likely to undergo prostate cancer screening, compared to white men. Even so, research has shown that even when presented with the same educational material, Black men are less likely to receive prostate cancer screening than white man. Myths, medical mistrust, and financial barriers may all contribute to this disparity, so the research team designed the brief educational video to specifically address the Black community in Philadelphia.

The video was shared at health events hosted by trusted local organizations, including community, faith-based, and occupational groups; men could also receive a free PSA blood test to screen for prostate cancer during the events. The video featured a conversation between a urologist and a local pastor, who is a Black prostate cancer survivor. It covered prostate cancer facts, provided information about screening options, and addressed common myths and misconceptions about how symptoms, age, and family history factor into the disease and screening for it.

“By helping more men, especially those in at-risk populations, understand the benefits of prostate cancer screening, we hope to find cancer earlier, when it can be more easily treated,” said lead author Mallorie C. Jones, MA, a project manager in Internal Medicine and member of the ACC Community Outreach and Engagement team. “The overwhelming positive survey feedback to the video tells us that we’re on the right track to developing a useful resource that resonates with audience it’s meant to reach.”

The team will continue to evaluate the video during community outreach events in the greater Philadelphia area in 2024, with plans to fine-tune the content based on participant feedback, including evaluating ways to make the information more accessible and relevant to Spanish-speakers. They hope to make the final video available to share with other organizations as an educational resource.

The video development was supported by a grant from Flyers Charities, which also supports free community prostate cancer screenings as part of the Flyers Against Prostate Cancer initiative.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, excellence in patient care, and community service. The organization consists of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Penn’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school.

The Perelman School of Medicine is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $550 million awarded in the 2022 fiscal year. Home to a proud history of “firsts” in medicine, Penn Medicine teams have pioneered discoveries and innovations that have shaped modern medicine, including recent breakthroughs such as CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities stretch from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania to the New Jersey shore. These include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and Pennsylvania Hospital—the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is an $11.1 billion enterprise powered by more than 49,000 talented faculty and staff.


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