AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN: What You Need to Know

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Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, but usually, it can be treated successfully. Prostate cancer is the result of cells dividing uncontrollably in the prostate gland to form a tumor.


Early prostate cancer often does not have symptoms. Once a tumor gets larger, men may have symptoms including: problems with urination; blood in the urine or semen; trouble
getting an erection; pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones; weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord (American Cancer Society).

These symptoms can also result from other health problems, so it is important to have (or find) a healthcare provider you can talk to.

What about screening?

There is a lot of discussion (and confusion) about prostate cancer screening. But experts who study the disease agree that prostate cancer screening is particularly important for Black men because their chances of getting prostate cancer are higher than other men.

Why is that?

According to experts, including Dr. Rick Kittles, Associate Director of Health Equity at the City of Hope Cancer Center and Dr. Folakemi Odedina, Associate Director of Cancer Disparities from the University of Florida, west African ancestry is associated with increased prostate cancer risk.

Does that mean all Black men will develop prostate cancer?

No, but it does mean that it is important to get screened regularly so if you do develop prostate cancer it is caught early and you can get the treatment you need.