Prostate Cancer and the Black Man
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men, with one in nine men being diagnosed in their lifetime. It's also the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men in the U.S. Prostate cancer is highly treatable when caught early, but can be deadly if caught too late. We always hear that cancer doesn't discriminate, but when it pertains to the black community, that statement can be disputed.
Prostate cancer takes a harsher toll on black men than white men, also including other men of color. One in six black men will be diagnosed and black men are 2.2 more times likely to die from this cancer than white men. It's disheartening to know there is no clear reasoning for these differences, but several factors can impact cancer risk and outcomes in the black community.
Black men may be harmed by racial bias in preventive care because they're less likely than white men to be offered the option of having a PSA test, which measures the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.
Studies have also shown that black men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer were less likely than white men to receive any type of treatment for that cancer. Black men must be screened for prostate cancer more proactively. Given the higher risk of death, black men are more likely to be saved by screenings. Fortunately, the racial divide for prostate cancer outcomes is narrowing. The five-year survival rate for black men is 97% , which means that if a black man is diagnosed today, at any stage, there's a 97% chance he will live five years. When caught early, these numbers are nearly 100%.
It's suggested that black men need to begin screenings at age forty because of the higher risk involved, especially if this cancer runs in your family. There are many treatment choices for prostate cancer and educating yourself is key. Life is so precious but can also be incredibly short. Please do not fall victim to prostate cancer because of refusing to be tested. Remember, if caught early you have a higher chance or survival. Do your part! Educate yourself! Stay active! Stay healthy! Get screened!
Stuart, Annie "Prostate Cancer in African American Men." WebMD, 26 December 2019, https://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/features/prostate-cancer-african-american-men
"Prostate Cancer Risk Factors" The American Cancer Society, Last Revised: 9 June 2020
"Survival Rates for Prostate Cancer" The American Cancer Society, Last Revised: 9 January 2020