HomeHealth8 Things Black Men and Caregivers Should Know about Prostate Cancer

8 Things Black Men and Caregivers Should Know about Prostate Cancer

Black men are at the highest risk for both developing and dying from prostate cancer. The exact reasons are complex and not fully understood. Here are eight things Black men—and caregivers—should know about prostate cancer to help stack the odds in their favor:

1. One in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. That number increases to 1 in 7 for Black men. Prostate cancer occurs more often in Black men than in men of other races.

2. Most men with early prostate cancer, or cancer that’s contained inside the prostate, don’t have any symptoms. Symptoms usually develop if the cancer spreads outside the prostate and into nearby areas or around the body.

3. While it’s clear Black men are at a greater risk for prostate cancer, the reasons are not definitively known. It could be a combination of factors, from genetics to access to care.

4. The relative five-year survival rate for prostate cancer diagnosed in its earliest stages is nearly 100%. The survival rate for men who present with late-stage disease drops to 31%. Black men are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer than White men.

5. Given the higher risk of developing prostate cancer and dying from the disease, Black men are more likely to have improved outcomes with screening. The main prostate cancer screening tests are a digital rectal exam, in which a doctor checks for swelling and lumps, and a PSA test, which measures the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.

6. The American Cancer Society recommends that Black men start prostate cancer screenings at age 45. While other ethnic groups start at age 50, that’s five years too late, say medical professionals. And if they have more than one family member who developed prostate cancer before age 45, Black men should talk with their doctors about starting their screening at age 40.

7. Black men may be harmed by racial bias in preventive care, as they are less likely than White men to be offered the option of having a PSA test, and are more likely than White men to be told that the benefits of prostate cancer screening are uncertain.

8. Despite the increased risk of developing prostate cancer and dying from it, Black men are underrepresented in clinical trials that test new therapies — making up only 6.7% of patients. The biggest barrier seems to be not having information about the trials themselves as well as the possible benefits they offer.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Zero-The End of Prostate Cancer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Medical News Today

This article has been brought to you by Lilly


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