ABSTRACT Objectives: Prostate cancer ranks high in mortality. Only 18% of men entitled for screenings take advantage of this. Social-cognitive models of health psychology describe and predict health behavior. This study investigates what barriers men perceive that impede the utilization of cancer screenings.
Design and Sample: Semistructured interviews were conducted in 2 general practices and 3 hospital wards. One hundred and seventy-eight men over 45 years were addressed; 64 utilized cancer screenings regularly, 3 had a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and 18 declined participation.
Measures: Content analyses were conducted with 83 interviews. The interview tapped into the following domains: barriers, risk perception, outcome expectancies, self-efficacy, and intentions.
Results: 57 men regarded their health as very important, while 47 had never utilized cancer screenings. Barriers were divided into emotional/cognitive versus organizational/structural. Sixty-four men did not utilize cancer screenings because of lack of symptoms, 22 feared a positive result, 20 had more pertinent health issues, and 18 assumed that their physicians would screen for cancer “automatically.”
Conclusions: Mainly emotional/cognitive barriers were seen as important for nonutilization, especially the absence of symptoms. Following the reasoning of social-cognitive models, a first step to enhance utilization rates would be to enhance risk perception.