Knowledge and opinion on prostate and prevalence of self-reported BPH and prostate-related events. A cross-sectional survey in Italy

G. Apolone, A. Cattaneo, P. Colombo, C. La Vecchia, L. Cavazzuti, F. Bamfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a very common condition in ageing men and causes considerable morbidity. Although great strides have been made recently, important issues remain under-researched and poorly understood. We have conducted a survey on a representative sample of Italian males to investigate the knowledge and opinion on prostate, to estimate the self- reported prevalence and intensity of BPH and LUTS (low urinary tract symptoms) and to evaluate the performance of the International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS) in a population-based sample. Trained interviewers administered a standardized questionnaire to a representative random sample of 671 Italian men aged 50 years and over, between May and June 2000. Univariate and multivariate statistical techniques were used to estimate the prevalence of relevant events, and the associations with selected variables. Only half of responders were able to identify the reason for prostate enlargement, less than one-third recently had spoken with a doctor, and only 8.6% had had a rectal examination. Further, 13.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) 11.1-16.3%) had ever been told they had BPH, with less than half of them receiving surgery for BPH. About 19% reported moderate-severe I-PSS. Both self-reported BPH and severe-moderate LUTS increased significantly with age (P-value <0.01). As to the I-PSS performance, we documented in a community-based sample that it is reliable and valid. Results of the multivariate analysis suggest that, in addition to age, a person's knowledge that they have BPH and a poor perception of health status are the main variables associated with the probability of moderate-severe LUTS. In conclusion, this community-based survey documents that Italian males have a poor knowledge and perception of prostate-related conditions and do not adequately care about them and, thus, do not seek medical attention. These facts notwithstanding, urological conditions such as BPH are common and may largely affect an individual's life. Our findings might help in the design and implementation of effective interventions to improve people's knowledge and understanding of prostate and change their attitudes towards medical care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-479
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002


  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Epidemiology
  • I-PSS
  • LUTS
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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