Are African-American men more at risk for prostate cancer?

All men can develop prostate cancer, and the level of risk increases with age. However, some men are more likely to get prostate cancer than others. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, African-American men are 1.6 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than their Caucasian counterparts. They are also 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.

Why are African-American Men at Risk?

Researchers have not yet determined the exact cause of the disparity between African-American prostate cancer rates and the prostate cancer rates among other races. However, some of the factors that may contribute include:

  • Genetic differences
  • Lack of access to quality medical care
  • Nutritional habits
  • Lifestyle

Whatever the cause, African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with this cancer at a younger age. In African-American men, tumors are also more likely to be large and/or have spread outside of the prostate, which increases the risk of death.

What Can You Do?

If you are an African-American man, you may be more prone to prostate cancer than other men your age. To prevent this disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat a diet low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Be sure to include plenty of fish in your diet and limit the amount of dairy you consume.
  • Avoid obesity. Being overweight or obese raises your risk of developing prostate cancer even more. Maintain a healthy weight throughout your life with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

To make sure that any instance of prostate cancer is caught and treated as early as possible, you should also schedule regular prostate screenings once you reach the age of 40. Different types of prostate cancer screenings include:

  • Prostate-specific antigen test – This test measures your blood level of PSA, a substance produced by your prostate gland. If PSA levels are high, further testing may be recommended.
  • Digital rectal exam – The digital rectal exam is a physical exam in which a doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum in order to palpate the prostate. If the gland feels abnormal, your doctor may perform additional tests.

If you have any questions, contact Scott D. Miller, MD here, or call (404) 705-5201.