American Cancer Society Urges the Black Community to Pay Close Attention to Prostate Health

From 1991 to 2019, there has been a 32 percent decline in cancer mortality due to early detection, research, advocacy, and patient support.

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed and the second leading cause of cancer death among Americans with prostates. This year alone, more than a quarter million people in the U.S. will receive the diagnosis. With approximately 1 in 6 Black men expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime compared to 1 in 8 White men, the Black community is disproportionately impacted due to long-standing health inequalities.

To address this issue and save lives, the American Cancer Society recommends Black people born with prostates speak with their doctor and make an informed decision about screening. There are usually no symptoms until the disease is advanced. Screening can catch cancer early and make it easier to find effective treatment options.

“Health inequalities within the Black community have been well documented,” said Tawana Thomas Johnson, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at the American Cancer Society. “Reasons for these inequalities are complex but likely rooted in the structural racism that contributes to poverty, under-resourced communities, and the lack of access to high-quality health care. All these factors lead to Black people having a higher cancer burden due to greater obstacles to cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survival.”

While death rates from prostate cancer have dropped by more than 50% since the early 1990s, Black people still have the highest death rate for prostate cancer of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S., dying from this type of cancer at a rate double to white people. Studies also show Black people diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer are significantly less likely to receive any treatment compared with white people, even when they have similar health insurance.


“We urge the Black community to work with us to address these alarming statistics,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer at the American Cancer Society. “Talk to a doctor about screening and available screening options, and if diagnosed, use us as a resource to learn more about the research and resources available for the best cancer outcomes.”

Talk to a doctor about prostate cancer screening if you are:

  • 40 or older and have more than one close family member who had prostate cancer
  • 45 or older and Black or have a close family member who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before they turned 65
  • 50 or older and have no family history of prostate cancer

From 1991 to 2019, there has been a 32 percent decline in cancer mortality due to early detection, research, advocacy, and patient support. The American Cancer Society offers multiple resources to support patients and improve cancer outcomes. This includes a 24/7 cancer helpline, free transportation to treatment, free lodging if treatment is needed away from home, online patient and caregiver peer support communities, and information on current research. Learn more at

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