EMU nursing graduate honored for research about prostate cancer in African American men

by Pamela Young, Published April 19, 2011

Ypsilanti- African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of any other race and are more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, according to the American Cancer Society.

These facts prompted Brenda Washington, an Eastern Michigan University nursing graduate, to dig deeper in to the reasons why, and to see what can be done to lower the statistics.

Washington, a registered nurse and recent EMU graduate, recently won first-place for her research entitled, “African American Men and Prostate Cancer: The Relationship of Knowledge, Fear and Intention to Screen,” at the Midwest Nursing Research Society’s 35th annual conference in Columbus, Ohio in March.

She received a plaque for her Outstanding Graduate Student poster, and was invited to submit a publication to the Western Journal of Nursing Research.

“My main goal is to help make a positive impact and difference in nursing through research and teaching,” said Washington, who graduated from Eastern with a master’s degree in nursing in Dec. 2010. She currently teaches fundamentals of nursing at Washtenaw Community College.

Researchers don’t known why African-American men are at higher risk for both developing the disease and dying from it, according to the American Cancer Society. The chances for the group are higher even when education and income factors are equal among races.

Washington surveyed 56 African-American men, ages 35-75, from churches and barbershops in Southeast Michigan. Her study revealed some interesting findings:

  • Subjects who had more knowledge about prostate cancer had a significantly higher intention of getting screened.
  • Fear of prostate cancer was low to moderate in her subjects, and therefore, was not incredibly significant.
  • Nurses can play a key role in educating patients about their risks and about the benefits of screening for early detection, treatment and a possible cure.
  • Screening may lead to a reduced mortality rate of prostate cancer and lessen the gap between the races.  Screenings recommended by the American Cancer Society include the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam.
  • The end result showed that having knowledge about prostate cancer and the importance of screening can promote a positive attitude about getting screened, causing more men to take the test.

The Society recommends that African-American males educate themselves about this disease, and, starting at the age of 45, get screened annually for prostate cancer.





Pamela Young

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