New research into prostate cancer rates in African American men, which has been decidedly lacking in the past, has begun to reveal more information that can help African Americans cope with a cancer diagnosis in the future.
Filling in the Gaps
It has long been suspected that African American men in the United States may suffer from prostate cancer at proportionally higher rates than other American ethnicities. However, research data into racial or ethnic differences and how they may correlate with prostate cancer risk have, historically, been lacking, which has prompted a renewed push on the part of scientists to pay increased attention to African American men in order to rectify this issue.
Now, a research study along those lines, designed specifically to determine if certain levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in African American men indicate risk for prostate cancer, has produced results. According to the study’s findings, which have been published recently in the journal European Urology, PSA levels in middle-aged African American men were found to strongly predict both risk and aggressiveness for prostate cancer.
Helping Protect Black Men from Prostate Cancer
The new research study is one of the few of its kind specifically designed to aid African American men. For too long, cancer research — including research into prostate cancer — has either been non-specific in regards to ethnicity or specifically exclusionary of any but White Americans, a trend that is highly unhelpful to say the least. It’s one of the reasons that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has called for more data to be gathered on male African American populations, something the new study references as part of the rationale for conducting this survey.
While the results aren’t necessarily surprising — it turns out that elevated PSA levels are excellent indicators of prostate cancer risk for all men — the fact that the study was conducted at all is an important first step in discovering where the disparities lie between prostate cancer rates between African American men other American males. Additional research along these lines, and along similar ones, is sure to shed light on racial and ethnic differences. In turn, these results may lead to better, more specific treatment methods that result in higher survival rates for all men everywhere.