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Diseases & Conditions : Prostate Health

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Prostate Cancer in African-American Men

African American men are both more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and to die from prostate cancer than are white men, although the reasons for this are not clear.

African-American men have considerably higher incidence rates (234.6 cases per 100,000 African-American men in 2003-2007) than white men (150.4 cases per 100,000 white men in 2003-2007).

African-American men may have the highest rate of prostate cancer incidence in the world. In addition, their prostate cancer mortality rate is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans. In the period from 2003 to 2007, mortality rates were 22.8 cases per 100,000 white men, and 54.2 cases per 100,000 African-American men.

Five-year relative survival rates are lower for African-American men (96.5 percent during 1999 to 2006) than for white men (99.7 percent during 1999 to 2006).

The causes of higher rates of prostate cancer among African-American males are largely unknown. Some studies found that even when income and education are controlled for, African-Americans have much higher rates than whites. Further studies are examining the impact of a wide variety of potential risk factors, including dietary and other lifestyle differences, occupational exposures, and hormonal and genetic differences.