British researchers found that black males are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than white males, while Asians have half the risk of being diagnosed with the disease than whites.
Prostate cancer is the most widespread form of cancer in men after skin cancer. In the U.S., more than 220,000 patients are diagnosed with the disease every year. More than 27,000 men die from the disease.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about one man in seven will eventually be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Yet, that can happen in old age, experts say, because 6 of 10 prostate cancer patients are men aged 65 or more.
In the U.S., only lung cancer kills more people than prostate cancer does. About 1 patient in 38 dies from the disease. But, the majority of patients do not die of prostate cancer and survival rates are encouraging
Researchers at the Prostate Cancer UK, which sponsored the new study, hope that their findings may help men make an informed decision on when to have a prostate cancer diagnosis test and what type of screening they should take.
According to the study, about one in eight or 13.3 percent of white males may develop prostate cancer at some point in their life. One in four black males have a similar risk, and one in 13 Asians may be diagnosed with the disease.
Additionally, black men had the higher risk of dying from the disease (one in 12), Asians had the lowest mortality risk (one in 44), while whites had a risk of one in 24. Yet, all races had 30 percent risk of dying of the disease, researchers found.
Nevertheless, the team wasn’t able to find why black males have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white males or Asians. Though the disease usually runs in the family, the study couldn’t tell why black men have such a heightened risk.
But scientists caution that the race is not the only factor that can signal a higher risk of the disease. Age, family history, and BMI also play a crucial role, especially when they are combined.
Dr. Alison Cooper, lead author of the study, explained that her team was aware that black men may be at a higher risk, but the data they had needed to be updated. She added that black men may use the findings to assess their prostate cancer risk in due time.
“These figures can be used for targeted awareness-raising and to help them make an informed decision about whether or not to have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test,”
Dr. cooper noted.
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