Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Black men urged to confront prostate cancer risk – research reveals staggering low awareness of the disease

Published:Wednesday | August 3, 2016 | 8:00 AM

Although black men face double the risk of prostate cancer compared to white men, and a shocking one in 12 will die from the disease, 86 per cent are unaware of their heightened danger, research from men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK revealed recently.

The poll, released during Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month, exposed a widespread lack of awareness of both the disease and the gland itself amongst black men. The prostate gland is an important component of the male sex system, but according to the poll, 92 per cent don't know what the sex gland does for them, 62 per cent don't know where it is located in the body, and nearly a fifth (19 per cent) are unaware they even have a prostate.

One in four black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and one in 12 will die from it - double the risk faced by white men. Black men are being urged to break down barriers and speak out about the disease that kills one man every hour in the United Kingdom.

According to the studies, black men not only face an increased risk of prostate cancer, they are more likely to develop the disease at a younger age. Black men are encouraged to have a PSA blood test, which is the first step towards a diagnosis of the disease, from the age of 45, rather than 50 - the recommended age for other ethnicities.

Tony Wong, Men at Risk programme manager, at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "Through our work, we know that too many black men are shying away from potentially life-saving conversations with their family and friends about prostate cancer and this must stop.

"Prostate cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence and, more often than not, the disease can be successfully treated if it is caught early. Awareness of risk is the first step to saving a life. So if you are black and over the age of 45, speak to your doctor and encourage your fathers, brothers, uncles and friends to do the same. Don't die of embarrassment.

"It is still not clear why black men face a higher-than-average risk of the disease, which is why Prostate Cancer UK is funding two key pieces of research in this area to help find the answers."

Only men have a prostate gland. The prostate is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra - the tube men urinate (pee) and ejaculate through. Its main job is to help make semen - the fluid that carries sperm.

STATISTICS

• 10,900 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year. That's one man every hour.

• Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with 330,000 living with and after the disease in the UK.

• Prostate cancer is set to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of all in 2030.

• Prostate cancer treatment often causes

devastating, long-term side effects. Incontinence and erectile dysfunction are among the devastating effects of prostate cancer.