In the United States, prostate cancer is the second most deadly variety for men, second only to melanoma. Unfortunately, this disease does not hit every man in equal fashion. As a man ages, the likelihood of him developing cancer increases. Men 70 years old and older are at the greatest risk of facing such a dilemma.

Though often time the diagnosis is non-threatening, it still nonetheless poses a burden to the individual. Men who have close relatives treated for cancer know this reality. Likewise, a man whose father lived with prostate cancer knows that he too is at risk.

The Gap In Cancer Treatment Care—Why?

So, are African-American men are at a greater risk of developing cancer than Caucasians or other racial groups? A study conducted at Sinai Urban Health Institute in Chicago presents some interesting finds. They propose that not only do African-American men develop aggressive prostate cancer at a higher rate, they are also more likely to die from it. Though the specific statistics may vary considerably from city to city, this research continues posits that, nationwide, African-American men are almost 2.4 times more likely to develop prostate cancer.  

Admittedly, scientists are not yet sure as to the exact causes behind this phenomenon. But this disparity varies widely, depending on the city. For example, Minneapolis had the lowest contrast, wherein African-American men had a 13% higher mortality from prostate cancer than Caucasian men. This is considered statistically insignificant, according to the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology. However, Los Angeles saw the greatest disparity. Here prostate cancer death for rate American-American men was 3.24 times greater than for than for Caucasian men.

The Gap in Cancer Treatment Care—Its Solution

Furthermore, researchers looked at prostate cancer mortality data from two periods, 1990-1994, and 2005-2009. Included in these case studies were 41 of the country’s largest cities. Over the past twenty years, prostate cancer deaths have declined overall for all men. But the elevated number of African-American men still dying from cancers is something that needs addressing. Maureen R. Benjamins Ph.D., who led the study, says that knowledge of such a discrepancy can help motivate government agencies, public health officials, and cancer-related organizations, to focus their efforts, implement new strategies, and remove obstacles to close this gap.

Ultimately, there may be several contributing factors behind African-American men seeing such a high number of deaths from cancer. Some including, an increase in the diagnoses, the number of treatment locations available, or perhaps the cost of treatment. There is no one definitive cause. Nevertheless, this is a gap that should be closed. Therefore, the best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to be vigilant and advocate for your own health.