For African-American men prostate cancer is the fourth most common cause of death.
As they age, all men should be concerned about prostate cancer, and it is recommended that they talk with their doctor about if and when they should be screen based on risk factors and their family history. When men who have one or more risk factors, and are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, early screening is especially important.
19 percent of black men; nearly one in five, will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is estimated that five percent of those will die from this disease.
How Much Greater Is the Prostate Cancer Risk for African-American Men?
There is no way to determine the exact reasons why black men are at an increased risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer. Some experts think it could be caused by delayed diagnosis and limited access to treatment. Researchers are currently attempting better understand the causes, but one recent study done suggests that there may be a genetic link.
African-American men have a dramatically increased risk for the disease if they have a family history of prostate cancer. These men who had an immediate family member who experienced prostate cancer have a one in three chance of developing the disease. When two immediate family members have the disease the risk rises to 83 percent. This number skyrockets to 97 percent if the man has three immediate family members who developed prostate cancer.
It’s So Important To Have Early Prostate Cancer Screening.
Early prostate cancer screening is very important because by the time that symptoms appear, the cancer is likely in an advanced stage. The earlier the prostate cancer is caught — before symptoms appear — the better the chances for recovery.
When caught early, prostate cancer is highly treatable. When prostate cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stage nearly 100 percent of men will be alive five years later.
Age Recommendations are Earlier for Prostate Cancer Screening for African-American Men.
Regular screening is important for all men at the age when prostate cancer becomes more likely. Experts recommend that black men start routine prostate cancer screening at a relatively young age. The American Cancer Society recommends that African-American men discuss testing with their doctor at age 45, or at age 40 if they have several close relatives who have had prostate cancer before age 65.
The family doctor can perform the screening tests. These can include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and/or a digital rectal exam (DRE). A digital rectal exam is a quick and only mildly uncomfortable exam of your prostate; the doctor will gently feel the surface of the prostate gland for lumps or other abnormalities.
It is very important for African-American men to be aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. These symptoms can include:
-Urinating in the middle of the night
-The need to urinate more frequently
-A feeling that the bladder doesn’t completely empty
-Blood in the urine