“Entertainment” education about prostate cancer screening

The ability to provide engaging and easily understood information about prostate cancer screening for low literacy popuations is a continuing challenge. Volk et al. have developed and evaluated an “entertainment-based” patient decision aid for prostate cancer screening, comparing its effectiveness among patients with low and high health literacy.

Two sets of male primary care patients from different primary care practice sites, one characterized as serving patients with low health literacy (n=149) and the second as serving patients with high health literacy (n=301), were randomized to receive an entertainment-based decision aid for prostate cancer screening or an audiobooklet-control aid with the same content but without the entertainment features. Postintervention and 2-week follow-up assessments were conducted.

While knowledge was improved for all participants, the patients at the low-literacy site were more engaged with the entertainment-based aid than were those at the high-literacy site. The patients at the low-literacy site also appeared to experience a lower level of decisional conflict and greater self-advocacy (i.e., mastering and obtaining information about screening) from the entertainment-based aid when compared to patients given the audiobooklet. No differences between the aids were observed for patients at the high-literacy site.

The authors conclude that this type of entertainment-based education may be an effective strategy for promoting informed decision making about prostate cancer screening among patients with lower health literacy. They also note that, “As barriers to implementing computer-based patient decision support programs decrease, alternative models for delivering these programs should be explored.”

5 Responses

  1. You should include the citation to such information so people can find the article.

  2. Dear Sir: We did include the citation. If you click on the name “Volk et al.” in the text above, it will take you to the full PubMed abstract.

  3. Unfortunately Dr. Volk and his colleagues cannot yet make the “entertainment” tool used in this study available over the Web. It is currently only available as a laptop-accessible system. We had hoped to be able to make it possible for our readers to view the actual material used in this study.

  4. As a prostate survivor, chairman of a support group and former adult literacy coordinator I am most interested in this research. Please keep us posted as to its availability. Thank you.

  5. Dear Mr. Mitchell: Thanks for your comment. We will do our best to keep you informed.

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