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Combatting Prostate Cancer in Black Men

In its ongoing work to address health disparities for Black men related to prostate cancer, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) recently announced newly published guidelines for prostate cancer screening for Black men in the U.S.

One in six Black men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime (vs. one in eight white men). Black men are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age, with more aggressive disease, and are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer.1

After determining there was an unmet need for guidelines for prostate cancer screening specifically for Black men, in January 2023 PCF convened a panel of experts in the social determinants of health, racial disparities, epidemiology, and the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer to review the literature and establish guidelines.

The expert panel recently published its recommendations and guidelines for prostate cancer screening for Black men in NEJM EvidenceThe new guidelines do not replace but rather complement current U.S. guidelines for early detection of prostate cancer. Some of the recommendations are:

  • Since Black men are at high risk for prostate cancer, the benefits of screening generally outweigh the risks.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a blood test that should be considered first-line for prostate cancer screening. Some providers may recommend an optional digital rectal exam in addition to the PSA test.
  • Decisions about PSA testing depend on individual preferences. Black men should engage in shared decision-making with their health care providers to learn about the pros and cons of screening.
  • For Black men who elect screening, a baseline PSA test should be done between the ages of 40 – 45. Depending on the PSA value and the individual’s health status, annual PSA screening should be strongly considered.
  • Black men over age 70 who have been undergoing prostate cancer screening should talk with their health care provider about whether to continue PSA testing and make an informed decision based on their age, life expectancy, health status, family history, and prior PSA levels.
  • Black men with an even higher risk of prostate cancer due to a strong family history and/or known carriers of high-risk genetic variants should consider initiating annual PSA screening as early as age 40.

PCF is sharing this information widely among Black men and their families as well as clinicians through its many communications channels including pcf.org and partner site Urotoday.com, patient webinars, informational videos, social media, patient guides, and other platforms.

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