The Silent Battle: Prostate Cancer in the Black Community
Prostate cancer represents the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men in the U.S. Regrettably, it hits our black community harder, making it more important than ever for us to be aware and proactive about our health.
According to Zero Cancer, Black and African American men are significantly more likely to get prostate cancer, while also being at a higher risk of dying from the disease. Prostate cancer represents the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men in the U.S., with the stakes being noticeably higher in the black community.
The Significance of Awareness
September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is crucial. It provides a focused time for men, especially Black men, and their families to arm themselves with knowledge about the disease. The disease carries disturbing statistics, yet there are clear opportunities for prevention, early detection, and effective treatments that can enhance survival rates.
Warning Signs to Watch
Symptoms like difficulty starting urination, frequent urination, or pain during ejaculation could indicate prostate cancer. If the cancer has already grown beyond the prostate, it may cause persistent pain in the hips, back, or other areas. Still, oftentimes, there are no indicative signs or symptoms, underscoring the importance of early detection.
Addressing Risk Factors
Anyone with a prostate is at risk of prostate cancer; however, research shows that Black men or those of African ancestry are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Risk escalates with age and family history, but maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and physical activity can help mitigate these risks.
Progress in Treatment
From surgery and radiation to active surveillance for low-risk patients, effective treatments exist for prostate cancer. Moreover, the medical field has witnessed significant advancements with new therapies in the past decade, creating an exciting landscape in prostate cancer treatment.
The Necessity of Early Detection
Early detection, primarily via a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, can lead to more effective treatments and improved outcomes. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends men at average risk to discuss screening with their healthcare provider at age 50, and sooner for those at heightened risk, including Black men.
Taking active measures to combat prostate cancer, the ACS introduced the IMPACT initiative, aiming to improve outcomes, reduce disparities, and implement known prevention strategies into at-risk communities, especially among Black men.