The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

African-American Men Have Highest Rate of Prostrate Cancer


According to the National Cancer Institute, African American/Black men have the highest rate for prostate cancer in the United States and are more than twice as likely as White men to die of the disease. Research has shown two specific reasons for the increase.

The first factor is more about socioeconomic status than race. Low socioeconomic status, which is often linked to lack of health insurance or lack of access to health services, often results in African-American men less likely to get medical diagnoses and help for prostrate cancer. This might also explain why the death rate for all types of cancer are 25 percent higher for African Americans/Blacks than for Whites.

The second factor is related to race. The National Cancer Institute reports that changes in DNA among African-American/Black men indicated they have a genetic combination of changes that put them at greater risk for prostrate cancer--up to 5 times greater than any other racial or ethnic group.

Although genetic makeup cannot be changed, what can change is proactive behavior that would result in early detection, treatment and increased survival rate. This is clearly an area that could be improved with health care reform that makes health insurance more affordable for millions. Genetics aside, access to more affordable health insurance will go a long way toward reducing health disparities like prostrate cancer.
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