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Prostate cancer an epidemic in African American Men
“Prostate cancer is an epidemic in African-American men,” said Dr. Kevin McVary, an urologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. African American men have the highest prostate cancer diagnosis rate and death rate in the world.
Seventy-two times a day an African American man is diagnosed with prostate cancer and sixteen times a day an African American man dies from prostate cancer. "Prostate cancer, particularly among African Americans, is a disgraceful tragedy that needs immediate and drastic action," says John R. Kelly, of the American Cancer Society.
Prostate cancer is the leading cancer in men in the U.S. It affects more than 220,000 men each year and at least 29,000 of them will die from the disease. African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a rate of sixty percent greater than Caucasian men and their death rate is more than double of any other racial group.
Why are African American men so susceptible to prostate cancer? Researchers theorize that diet and lifestyle choices play a significant role in who will develop prostate cancer. According to the National Heart Association, over sixty percent of African American men are overweight and twenty-eight percent of are obese. Diets high in saturated fats, red meats, and lack of exercise all contribute to high risk for developing prostate cancer. Disparity in health care may also be a contributing factor in the high death rate from prostate cancer for African American Men.
Economic limitations, lack of health care insurance, and poor access to health care have been cited as possible reasons for the high prostate cancer death rate in African American men. Researchers, in a health care executive study, found that twenty-four percent of African Americans had not had a regularly scheduled doctor’s visit in the previous year and many African Americans don’t have a regular doctor. For African American men over forty, regularly scheduled doctors visit and prostate health education are essential.
African American men need to be educated about prostate cancer at an earlier age than men of other races. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine say that African American men tend to develop prostate cancer at earlier ages. “We need to educate more men to come in early,” said Dr. Isacc Powell, a prostate cancer researcher and survivor in a Detroit Free Press interview. Early detection through testing gives African American men the best chance of survival from the disease. If detected early, the chances of survival are increased.
What should you do about prostate cancer? African American men should: •Get information about prostate health and prostate cancer •Talk to your family about your family’s health history •Have regular physical exams and have your doctor perform a PSA test and digital Rectal Exam. •Talk to your family about your family’s health history •Talk to your doctor about prostate cancer risk, symptoms, and testing