One in every four black men in the United Kingdom (UK) will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his lifetime, which is double the overall one-in-eight cradle-to-grave risk faced by all men in the UK.
This, according to new figures released by health charity Prostate Cancer UK, based on calculations using the current probability method from Public Health England and Office for National Statistics data for England and Wales.
Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in black men worldwide.
"It's like Russian Roulette but with only four players chancing the bullet. This statistic is a wake-up call to black men about the unique danger they face - and we're warning them to act on it," noted Cordwell Thomas, who heads Prostate Cancer UK's partnership with Britain's African and African Caribbean communities.
"Fathers, brothers, partners, sons, with every fourth black man or boy in the UK destined to get this potentially fatal disease at some time, it's vital that everything possible is done to identify and catch aggressive cancers early."
Calculation of the specific lifetime risk to black men was undertaken by Prostate Cancer UK as part of its continuing drive to support the men of Britain's two million-strong African and African Caribbean population in recognising both the threat to their prostate health and their responsibility to be proactive in seeking out advice and support.
BLACK ANCESTRY A RISK FACTOR
According to Thomas: "Many health professionals are not even aware that black ancestry is a prostate-cancer risk factor. What's more, black guys often don't claim their rights to health care. They're not first in line to see the GP [general practitioner] or to call our helpline to discuss concerns like erectile dysfunction or problems peeing. With so many lives at risk, we all have to work together to ensure that black men wise up to the issue and those affected seek and receive appropriate health care."
According to data, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, and on average, one man dies every hour from prostate cancer in the UK. As well as having black ancestry, risk factors for prostate cancer are being over 50, or having a family history of the disease in close male relatives.