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NEWS ROOM: American Cancer Society Urges Black Community to Pay Special Attention to Prostate Health

ATLANTE – Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among Americans with prostate cancer. This year alone, more than a quarter of a million people in the United States will be diagnosed. With approximately 1 in 6 black men expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 8 white men, the black community is disproportionately impacted due to longstanding health inequalities.

To address this issue and save lives, the American Cancer Society recommends that black people born with a prostate speak with their doctor and make an informed decision about screening. There are usually no symptoms until the disease is advanced. Screening can find cancer early and help find effective treatment options.

“Health inequities within the black community have been well documented,” said Tawana Thomas Johnson, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at the American Cancer Society. “The reasons for these inequalities are complex but likely rooted in structural racism that contributes to poverty, underresourced communities, and lack of access to high-quality health care. All of these factors lead to black people having a higher cancer burden due to greater barriers to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survival.

While prostate cancer death rates have dropped more than 50% since the early 1990s, black people still have the highest prostate cancer death rate of any racial or ethnic group in the states. United States dying of this type of cancer at a rate double to white person. Studies also show that black people diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer are significantly less likely to receive treatment than white people, even when they have similar health insurance.

“We urge the black community to work with us to address these alarming statistics,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, patient officer at the American Cancer Society. “Talk to a doctor about screening and the screening options available, and if diagnosed, use us as a resource to learn more about the research and resources available to get the best cancer outcomes.”

Talk to a doctor about prostate cancer screening if you are:

  • 40 or older and have more than one close family member who has had prostate cancer
  • 45 or older and Black or have a close family member who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65
  • 50 years or older and have no family history of prostate cancer

From 1991 to 2019, there has been a 32% drop in cancer mortality thanks to early detection, research, awareness and patient support. The American Cancer Society offers multiple resources to support patients and improve cancer outcomes. This includes a 24/7 cancer helpline, free transportation to treatment, free accommodation if treatment is needed outside the home, supportive communities in line for patients and carers and information on ongoing research. Learn more about cancer.org/partneringforlife

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society’s mission is to free the world from cancer. We invest in lifesaving research, provide 24/7 information and support, and work to ensure that individuals in every community have access to cancer prevention, detection and treatment. For more information, visit cancer.org.



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