Disparities in Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), but Black men carry a disproportionate burden of prostate cancer occurrences and have the highest death rate for prostate cancer of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. Prostate cancer is number one in new cancer diagnoses and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Black men. The reasons for these large disparities are multifaceted and include both biological and genetic factors and socioeconomic factors like lack of access to treatment options, racial bias in care, and distrust in the medical system.

Inequities in Prostate Cancer Care

Inequities exist in access and quality of treatment men receive for prostate cancer. Black men are more likely to receive substandard treatment for prostate cancer. Black men diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer are significantly less likely to receive any treatment compared to white men, even when accounting for similar insurance. This is largely driven by the impact of structural and social determinants of health including systemic racism.

We must ensure equitable access to quality cancer treatment for all.

Facts and Disparities

1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. For 2023, there will be an estimated 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer and 34,700 deaths due to prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is more likely to develop in Black men. Black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and are 2.1 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men.

For Black men, prostate cancer is number one in new diagnoses with an estimated 41,600 new cases in 2022 (accounts for 37% of all new cancers in Black men). Also, there were an estimated 6,040 deaths from prostate cancers.

Black men are more likely to be diagnosed at more advanced stages of the disease.

Early Detection and Screening

Catching cancer early often allows for more treatment options. For some types of cancer, screening can help find cancers at an early stage, when they are likely to be easier to treat. Prostate cancer is a good candidate for early detection screening because it is usually slow growing. Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in a man’s blood. This is often elevated in men with prostate cancer.

Screening Recommendations
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. The discussion about screening should take place at:

- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

Disparities in Early Detection and Screening
Black men are less likely to get screened for prostate cancer compared to white men. Only 33% of Black men over the age of 50 have received a PSA test.

For more information on cancer screening, visit the American Cancer Society.

How is Prostate Cancer Treated?

There are several treatment options for prostate cancer. Depending on each person's situation, treatment options might include:

- Observation
- Surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Cryotherapy
- Hormone therapy
- Chemotherapy
- Immunotherapy
- Targeted drug therapy

For more information regarding treatment, visit the American Cancer Society.


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National Minority Quality Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities.

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