Prostate cancer is the leading type of cancer found among Black men. In fact, African American men die from it at a rate 120% higher than white men. Preventative measures and adequate medical treatment have made it possible for people to live longer, healthier lives; yet when we look at statistics pertaining to Black people diagnosed with prostate cancer, that is not entirely true.
The Center for Black Health & Equity was created out of the need to address health disparities such as those seen in prostate cancer. They identify experts such as the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) and partner with them to uplift the mission of reducing health inequities among African Americans.
There are over 300 million Black men in the United States today, according to the latest census, and one out of every five will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. This cancer tends to be discovered at later stages and be more aggressive in Black men. Even then, all treatment options are not always available or explained to the patient in order to help them make a proper decision.
“This long list of disadvantages can be addressed in several ways,” said Delmonte Jefferson, executive director for The Center. Early detection screenings are essential; the sooner you know, the sooner you can get help if needed. Many groups will suggest that men start screening in their late 50s, but PHEN and similar organizations suggest that Black men should start screening around the age of 40.
There are many unknowns when it comes to prostate cancer, so research studies and clinical trials are ongoing. Because Black men are often not included in important clinical trials, PHEN proudly conducts clinical trial rallies where they encourage Black men to participate. Proper representation in clinical trials helps improve treatment efficacy and reduces the mortality rate of prostate cancer among Black men.
Above all, advocating for one’s own health and others can greatly change the course of a diagnosis. Organizations, including PHEN provide easy guides and resources online to prepare patients and families with the facts. Understanding the need for early screening and opportunities to participate in clinical trials will vastly improve the lives of Black men and their families; getting us closer to achieving true health equity.
Visit www.prostatehealth.org to access those resources and learn more