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Prostate Cancer and Black Men

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Prostate Cancer and Black Men

African-American men may have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world

Defining Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the leading cancer diagnosed in men in the United States. Several types of cells are found in the prostate, but almost all prostate cancers develop from the gland cells. Gland cells make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen.

Key Statistics

For reasons that are unclear, incidence rates are significantly higher in African-American men than in white men. In fact, African-American men may have the highest rate of prostate cancer incidence in the world. In addition, their prostate cancer mortality rate is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans. From 2005 to 2009, mortality rates were 21.7 cases per 100,000 white men compared to 53.1 cases per 100,000 African-American men.

Five-year relative survival rates also are lower for African-American men (96.2 percent during 2002 to 2008) than for white men (99.6 percent during 2002 to 2008).

The causes of higher rates of prostate cancer among African-American males are largely unknown. Some studies have found that even when income and education are controlled for, African-Americans have much higher rates than whites.

Age, ethnicity and family history are the main risk factors for prostate cancer. With regards to ethnicity, African American men and Jamaican men of African descent have the highest prostate cancer incidence in the world.

Symptoms

Early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. Some advanced prostate cancers can slow or weaken your urinary stream or make you need to urinate more often, especially at night. But non-cancerous diseases of the prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) also can cause these symptoms. If the prostate cancer is advanced, you might have blood in your urine or trouble getting an erection. Advanced prostate cancer commonly spreads to the bones, which can cause pain in the hips, back, chest, or other areas. Cancer that has spread to the spine can also press on the spinal nerves, causing weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control.

How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

Most prostate cancers are first found during screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and or a digital rectal exam (DRE).

Treatment

Depending on the situation, the treatment options for men with prostate cancer may include:

Watching and waiting
Surgery
Radiation therapy
Cryosurgery (cryotherapy)
Hormone therapy
Chemotherapy
Vaccine treatment
From Fox Chase Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, American Cancer Society

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BHM Edit Staff