Health literacy, cancer literacy, comprehensions and knowledge among men attending a urology clinic

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Journal of Men's Health


Health literacy (HL) is essential for men receiving urological treatment so that they can be involved in the shared decision making process. HL is supported by domain specific background knowledge which also informs cancer literacy and comprehension. Comprehension is in turn a determinant of HL. This study aimed to assess the level of HL among a group of men receiving urological treatment and to investigate if there were any correlations between the two different measures of HL, cancer literacy and comprehension, and prostate cancer knowledge. A survey was mailed to 200 men attending a urological clinic. The survey included: demographic questions, two validated tests of HL, (1) the Brief Health Literacy Score (BHLS) and (2) the Health Literacy Management Scale (HeLMS); a test of cancer comprehension; the Cancer Message Literacy Tests Reading (CMLT); and a prostate cancer knowledge test. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. Surveys from 72 respondents, average age of 65 years, were included in the final analysis. Based on the BHLS, 22% of respondents had inadequate HL and 50% of respondents had inadequate HL in one or more of the HeLMS domains. Overall, the study participants had relatively high cancer literacy, comprehensions, and knowledge. However, for men with inadequate HL, based on the BHLS and the HeLMS, there were strong correlations with poor cancer literacy, comprehension, and knowledge. Our study highlights that many men receiving urological treatment with inadequate HL, require additional support to access health information which they can understand and act on to be part of the shared decision-making process.

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