As National Minority Health Month is underway, the Prostate Cancer Foundation wants African American males to get their prostate checked for cancer to close the disparity gap.
The announcement came in conjunction with Rush Hour actor Chris Tucker being named the spokesperson for the “Know the Numbers” campaign.
The campaign stresses the importance of early detection, screenings and statistics that every African American man should be aware of.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, African American men in their early 50s are 2.4 times more likely to dies from the disease than white men.
“It was shocking for me to learn that African-American men have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers, and that prostate cancer is the number one diagnosed cancer among veterans,” Chris Tucker said in a statement. “It’s imperative that the black community understand the risks and do as much as possible to increase their chances of surviving or even better, preventing the disease by making certain lifestyle changes.”
Additionally, African American men are 74 percent more likely receive a definite prostate cancer diagnosis in their early 50s.
The organization wants men to begin screening for the disease at age 40 if they have a family history.
The organization’s mission is to close the gap for this disparity by providing research and support.
“PCF is devoted to tackling these alarming disparities. We are doubling down on cutting-edge research and forging new partnerships to solve the most lethal forms of prostate cancer, and to identify causes of why African-American men are disproportionally impacted by aggressive disease,” Jonathan Simons, MD, PCF’s President and CEO said.
This information is particularly interesting, considering the mortality rate for African Americans in general has declined 25 percent from 1999 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Even with the improvement in the mortality rate, African Americans are two times more likely to die from heart disease and 50 times more likely to have higher blood pressure than Caucasian Americans.
This also includes diabetes, as well.
However, the racial disparity remains that African Americans will live four years less than Caucasian Americans.
As these statistics are alarming, a publication from the American Cancer Society entitled “Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2016-2018” further examines how cancer affects African Americans in America.
“Blacks have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers,” the publication stated. “Although the overall racial disparity in cancer death rates is decreasing, in 2012, the death rate for all cancers combined was 24 percent higher in black men and 14 percent higher in black women than in white men and women, respectively.”
To combat the disparity, the federal government and local communities are offering programs during National Minority Health Month, including free health screenings for diabetes, AIDS and HIV, obesity and hypertension. Also, programs are provided to cover infant programs and caregiver resources. Resources are available year-round to support those who may have medical needs that arise.
For more information about National Minority Health Month, visit https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/nmhm18/.