Enhancing Men’s Awareness of Testicular Disorders Using a Virtual Reality Intervention: A Pre–Post Pilot Study

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Abstract

Background

The incidence of benign and malignant testicular disorders is on the rise. Three literature reviews and one qualitative study found that men’s awareness of testicular disorders was lacking, and their intentions to seek help for symptoms of testicular disease were low.

Objectives

The aim of the study was to enhance men’s awareness of testicular disorders, help-seeking intentions for testicular symptoms, and intention and behavior to feel their testes.

Methods

Men aged 18–50 years were recruited from a university and asked to engage in a three-level, educational, virtual reality experience. The Medical Research Council framework guided the development and pilot testing of the intervention. Knowledge, awareness, perceived risk, implementation intentions, help-seeking intentions, and behaviors were measured at pretest (T0), immediately posttest (T1), and 1 month posttest (T2).

Results

Data were available from 49 participants. In comparison to T0, a significant increase in knowledge (mean difference [MD] = 3.5, 95% CI [2.8, 4.26]); testicular awareness (MD = 0.2, 95% CI [0.01, 0.41]); implementation intentions (MD = 0.6, 95% CI [0.33, 0.90]); and help-seeking intentions for testicular swelling (MD = 0.3, 95% CI [0.12, 0.51]), lumpiness (MD = 0.3, 95% CI [0.08, 0.46]), and pain (MD = 0.6, 95% CI [0.25, 1.01]) was noted at T1. This increase was maintained at T2. Participants who expressed an intention to feel their testes at T0 were more likely to report performing this behavior at T2.

Discussion

The intervention succeeded in promoting knowledge, testicular awareness, implementation intentions, help-seeking intentions, and behaviors. A randomized controlled trial of the Enhancing Men’s Awareness of Testicular Disorders intervention with a larger sample size is warranted.

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