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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men and African American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world, with incidence rates and mortality rates twice that of Caucasian men.

Genetics

“Why do African American men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer?” Some have proposed that it may be a function of genetic or hereditary factors. African American men have been shown to have significantly higher levels of testosterone compared to Caucasian men. Because prostate cancer is stimulated by testosterone production, this higher level of testosterone in African American men may lead to a higher incidence of prostate cancer.

However, factors other than hereditary factors may also contribute to the higher rates and more aggressive forms of prostate cancer observed in African American males.  There may be common environmental exposures that lead to higher rates of prostate cancer.

More aggressive form of the disease

Not only do African American men tend to have an increased incidence in prostate cancer, African American men also tend to have more aggressive disease at the time of their diagnosis, which may play some part in the disparity in increased mortality rates from prostate cancer in African Americans.

However, it is unknown whether the higher mortality rates of prostate cancer observed in Black males is due to the more aggressive forms of the cancer itself occurring more often in African American males, or the fact that African American men have historically been those less likely to be screened for the early detection of prostate cancer and therefore have more advanced prostate cancer at diagnosis due to delayed presentation.

Currently there is no proven way in which to prevent prostate cancer; however, based upon certain observations some suggest that risk reduction for developing prostate cancer may be possible.

Why Does Prostate Cancer Affect Black Men Differently? was originally published on blackdoctor.org

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