Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the United States, representing approximately
Proactive screening efforts and effective treatment options mean that many people diagnosed with prostate cancer have a good prognosis. From 2012 to 2018, the estimated 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer (that is, the percent of people who are alive 5 years after diagnosis) was
But prostate cancer affects everyone differently, and there’s clear evidence that differences in prostate cancer occurrence and outcomes vary based on race.
In this article, we examine the link between prostate cancer and race, including the social and biological factors that may drive these differences.
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article uses the terms “men” and “males” to refer to sex assigned at birth. Your gender identity may not align with how your body responds to this disease.
Among all American males, the estimated number of new cases of prostate cancer is 112.7 per 100,000 people, but these rates vary drastically by race.
According to the data from the
- 183.4 for Black males
- 110 for white males
- 88.6 for Hispanic males
- 70.3 for Native American and Alaska Native males
- 59.6 for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) males
The prostate cancer death rate is also more than twice as high in Black men than in white men, and over four times higher than in AAPI men.
Despite having a lower reported case rate than white men, Native American and Alaska Native men are also slightly more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men.
Disparities in access to and quality of healthcare may explain racial differences in the estimated number of prostate cancer cases and the outcomes of these cases.
According to a
These results suggest that access to care and appropriate treatment options may drive differences in prostate cancer outcomes, particularly for Black Americans.
Compared with white men, Black men are
Efforts to reduce healthcare disparities and promote early screening in high risk populations may therefore help improve outcomes for Black and Native Americans.
Social and behavioral differences may also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer in some groups.
For example, exposure to certain pesticides often used in agriculture has been linked to an
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hispanic people make up over one-quarter of workers in the agricultural, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries, meaning that they may be more likely to be exposed to harmful, cancer-causing chemicals.
Diet is another factor that may contribute to the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Cultural background often influences the types of foods we eat and can vary for different racial and ethnic groups.
Some specific dietary factors that have been
- calcium and vitamin D intake
- lycopene intake
- red meat intake
Although prostate cancer outcomes may be improved in Black Americans by reducing health inequities, some research suggests that the likelihood of developing prostate cancer may be
These differences may be explained by biological factors like genetics.
Different types of mutations may influence the likelihood of prostate cancer development and how quickly cancer progresses. They may also influence how people respond to treatment.
While these results are encouraging, it’s hard to know how they apply to the wider population of Black and Asian individuals in the United States. Racial and ethnic minorities have historically been underrepresented in prostate cancer clinical trials.
Prostate cancer is a common but highly treatable disease in the United States. Certain populations, including Black and Native Americans, are more likely to develop prostate cancer and have poor disease outcomes.
Racial differences in prostate cancer numbers and outcomes in the United States are mostly driven by healthcare inequities, but a variety of social and biological factors contribute as well.
More diverse clinical trial participation is needed to understand the link between race and prostate cancer so that we can better treat our diverse population.