Preventive strategies are known to reduce cancer risk and incidence and improve prognosis. Men seldom seek medical information about cancer prevention and risk reduction. The aim of this meta-narrative systematic review was to critically appraise evidence from qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods studies that explored men's information-seeking behaviours in relation to cancer prevention and risk reduction.
MEDLINE, CINAHL Plus with Full Text, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, Education Full Text, and ERIC were systematically searched for studies published in English between January 1(st) 2006 and May 30(th) 2016. A total of 4,117 titles were identified; of which, 31 studies were included (21 qualitative studies, nine quantitative studies, and one mixed-methods study). The methodological quality of the studies was appraised using different tools.
Most studies focused on screening for prostate (n=18) and colorectal cancer (n=7). The majority of men were passive information-gatherers rather than active information-seekers. Key sources of information included the internet for active information-seekers and healthcare professionals for passive information-gatherers. Barriers to information-seeking included information overload, embarrassment, and fear. Low literacy and health literacy levels were addressed in three studies and were identified as impediments to active information-seeking. Facilitators to information-seeking included family support, media, celebrity endorsements, and targeted information.
Men's information-seeking behaviour regarding cancer risk reduction, prevention, and screening is influenced by several factors. This necessitates targeted interventions aimed at raising awareness of cancer prevention and screening, whilst accounting for men's informational needs, preferred learning strategies, and literacy levels.