OBJECTIVE: This systematic review presents current evidence on the barriers and facilitators to engaging men in health screening.
METHODS: We included qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method studies identified through five electronic databases, contact with experts and reference mining. Two researchers selected and appraised the studies independently. Data extraction and synthesis were conducted using the 'best fit' framework synthesis method.
RESULTS: 53 qualitative, 44 quantitative and 6 mixed-method studies were included. Factors influencing health screening uptake in men can be categorized into five domains: individual, social, health system, healthcare professional and screening procedure. The most commonly reported barriers are fear of getting the disease and low risk perception; for facilitators, they are perceived risk and benefits of screening. Male-dominant barriers include heterosexual -self-presentation, avoidance of femininity and lack of time. The partner's role is the most common male-dominant facilitator to screening.
CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review provides a comprehensive overview of barriers and facilitators to health screening in men including the male-dominant factors. The findings are particularly useful for clinicians, researchers and policy makers who are developing interventions and policies to increase screening uptake in men.
DESIGN: This qualitative study employed an interpretive descriptive approach. Two trained researchers conducted in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) using a semi-structured topic guide, which was developed based on literature review and behavioural theories. All IDIs and FGDs were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Two researchers analysed the data independently using a thematic approach.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Men working in a banking institution in Kuala Lumpur were recruited to the study. They were purposively sampled according to their ethnicity, job position, age and screening status in order to achieve maximal variation.
RESULTS: Eight IDIs and five FGDs were conducted (n=31) and six themes emerged from the analysis. (1) Young men did not consider screening as part of prevention and had low risk perception. (2) The younger generation was more receptive to health screening due to their exposure to health information through the internet. (3) Health screening was not a priority in young men except for those who were married. (4) Young men had limited income and would rather invest in health insurance than screening. (5) Young men tended to follow doctors' advice when it comes to screening and preferred doctors of the same gender and ethnicity. (6) Medical overuse was also raised where young men wanted more screening tests while doctors tended to promote unnecessary screening tests to them.
CONCLUSIONS: This study identified important factors that influenced young men's screening behaviour. Health authorities should address young men's misperceptions, promote the importance of early detection and develop a reasonable health screening strategy for them. Appropriate measures must be put in place to reduce low value screening practices.