Prostate Cancer and Black America: Prevalence and Testing Methods
Black men are 2.1 times more likely to die from Prostate Cancer than White men. This difference in mortality is one of the largest racial disparities in any cancer.
They also face disparities in Prostate Cancer screening, relative to their increased risk. For example, it has been reported that Black men are less likely to receive their prostate screenings, and they are less likely to be offered these screenings by their doctor. Additionally, Black men aged 40 to 54 with elevated PSA levels were about 40% less likely to get a prostate MRI than their white counterparts.
This can be due to financial barriers, less access to adequate health facilities in Black communities, or even due to medical mistrust that leads Black people to be less likely to receive routine care.
The good news is, the five-year survival rate for Black men diagnosed with Prostate Cancer (at any stage) is 96%. Prostate cancer is considered one of the most curable forms of Cancer. However, getting an early diagnosis for this disease is still crucial, as it can improve outcomes and increase the rate of survival. This means that Black men must stay on top of their routine screenings for prostate cancer, starting at the age of 40.
The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer, one of several forms of screening.
- Research has looked at how successful the PSA blood test was for Black men, and it was discovered that PSA tests are more accurate for Black men, with less cases of over diagnosis and overtreatment than other groups
- Additionally, there is poor representation of Black men in randomized PSA screening studies, indicating that the Black community needs more access to these tests.
Another option for Prostate Cancer testing is the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) that examines the rectum for abnormalities.
Differences in treatment also have an impact on this huge disparity that exists in Prostate Cancer deaths. Black men diagnosed with early stage Prostate Cancer were 27% less likely to receive any type of treatment for their condition, as compared to their white counterparts. There are several treatment options available for people diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and many more.
Do not delay treatment! Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for all of your options regarding both testing and treatment. And work with your care providers to create a plan that works for your needs.
Testing can be overwhelming and scary, but remember that it is necessary to get it done and protect yourself. Check out this AAWP guide to make your prostate cancer screening journey as straightforward and thorough as possible: Prostate Cancer Screening: What to Know
Footnotes: New England Journal of Medicine Study