According to Malecare, Prostate Cancer kills Black men as a rate that is 2.4 times that for White men. According to the Men’s Health Foundation Ghana “1 in 5 Ghanaian men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.”(1) The Prostate Cancer UK also said “1 in 4 black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.”(2) According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation in the United States, “African-American men are nearly 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than Caucasian men and 2.4 times more likely to die from the
A report from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) indicated that Black men have 60 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer and a 45% higher risk of dying from prostate cancer than White men in the United States.(4)
Why do Black men fare so badly when it comes to prostate cancer? This is a major question, which needs to be answered given the significant disparity in both men developing prostate cancer and their mortality rate.
A study published in the Journal of Urology examined on autopsy the prostate glands of 1,056 men, Black and White between the ages of 20 and 80 years who died of causes other than prostate cancer. As a control they also evaluated the prostate glands of 2,874 men who had undergone prostate removal (radical prostatectomy) to treat prostate cancer.(5)
They found the prevalence of prostate cancer and the volume of the prostate gland was similar between the men regardless of race and between the ages of 20 and 60. The Gleason grade of the cancers (grade assigned to prostate cancer based on its appearance) also was similar for both Black and White men through age 70.
However, there was a major difference when the researchers found that for the men who had had a prostatectomy, the volume of prostate cancer was greater for Black men ages 39 to 70 when compared with white men. They also found that Black men also have four times the chance of having advanced prostate cancer or prostate cancer that had spread (metastasized) than did white men.
This study suggests that Black men experience a faster growth rate, later diagnosis and/or earlier transformation to clinically significant prostate cancer than do White American men. These factors clearly Influences the quicker progression and higher mortality rate between Black and White American men.
Malecare has a new program, Twice As Many (www.TwiceAsMany.org) to provide Black men a forum to discuss their personal experiences with prostate cancer. Understanding an individual’s experiences will help us to continue to unravel the complexities of prostate cancer, especially in the African-American Communities. We thank Astellas for funding this effort.
Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.