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3 Things You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer and Its Effect on Black Men

Author: Liberty-Ann Shelton

1. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting African American males. 1

  • 1 in 6 black men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime.2

  • The average age of all men at diagnosis is around 66 years old.3

2. Family history of prostate cancer, African race, specific genetic conditions, and lifestyle behaviors may increase someone’s risk of developing prostate cancer. 2

  • Family history: Having a parent, sibling, or child with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 2-3 times. 4

  • African race: Since prostate cancer occurs most often in African American males, being of African ancestry puts individuals at a higher risk. 2

  • Genetic Conditions: Certain genetic conditions like Lynch syndrome and BRCA1 and BRCA2 can increase prostate cancer risk. 2

  • Lifestyle behaviors: Smoking and excessive body weight may also increase a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer. 2

3. Prostate Cancer often has no symptoms until later in the disease, and there are ways to prevent or detect it early. 2

  • Prevention: Cancer can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. Listed below are the American Cancer Society's recommendations:

o Maintain a healthy body weight - This can be determined using Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is not perfect and does not account for how race may affect weight. It can give a general idea of one’s healthy body weight. However, it should not be the only measurement used. Ask a healthcare provider to help you with this.5

o Engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week -Moderate physical activity includes brisk walking, water aerobics, washing your car, vacuuming, and dancing. 6 To learn more, visit this Cleveland Clinic page.

o Follow healthy eating patterns by eating high-nutrient foods, a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Limit processed foods and excess sugar.

For more resources, check out My Plate. 7

o Avoid or limit alcohol intake to 2 drinks per day for men.

  • Early Detection: The American Cancer Society recommends that patients talk to their doctor about PSA testing beginning at age 45 for Black men and age 50 for other men.

o PSA test or Prostate-Specific Antigen test measures the amount of PSA in your blood. Small amounts of PSA in your blood are normal, but high amounts may indicate prostate cancer.8

Prostate cancer affects black men more than any other cancer. Having a family history, being of African descent, having certain genetic conditions, and various lifestyle behaviors can increase one’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and can be detected early through a PSA test.

Short Bio about Author: Liberty-Ann Shelton

Liberty-Ann is a Doctor of Pharmacy Student at Purdue University. Upon graduating in May 2023, Liberty-Ann will pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry, helping to bring accurate health information to patients, specifically patients of color.


1. Cancer Incidence Among African Americans United States- 2007-2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed February 10, 2020. Accessed September 16, 2022.

2. Cancer Facts & Figures for African American/Black People 2022-2024. American Cancer Society. Accessed September 16, 2022.

3. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Reviewed January 12, 2022. Accessed September 16, 2022.

4. Prostate Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Reviewed September 2021. Accessed September 16, 2022.

5. Brazier Y. How much should I weigh for my height and age. Medical News Today. Updated November 28, 2021. Accessed September 16, 2022.

6. What Does Moderate Exercise Mean, Anyway. Health essentials. Cleveland Clinic. Published October 23, 2020. Accessed September 16, 2022.

7. MyPlate. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed September 16, 2022.

8. PSA Test. Mayo Clinic. Published June 22, 2021. Accessed September 16, 2022.

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