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Black men 'twice the risk of prostate cancer diagnosis than white men'

Published 30/07/2015

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK

Black men have twice the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than white men, researchers have said.

A study, which looked at men in England, also found that Asian men have around half the chance of being diagnosed with and dying from the disease compared with white men.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with 41,700 diagnoses in 2011, and it is predicted to become the UK's most commonly diagnosed cancer overall by 2030.

Prostate Cancer UK, which carried out the research, said it could help individuals better understand their risk of developing prostate cancer and help them make an informed decision about whether or not to have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.

Its research paper, which is published in the open access journal BMC Medicine, looked at the both the lifetime risk of being diagnosed as well as dying from the disease for every major ethnic group.

The team estimated that the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is approximately one in eight (13.3%) for white men, one in four (29.3%) for black men (including black African, black Caribbean and other black) and one in 13 (7.9%) for Asian men (including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other Asian).

They worked out that the lifetime risk of dying from the disease was one in 24 (4.2%) for white men, one in 12 (8.7%) for black men and one in 44 (2.3%) for Asian men.

White, black and Asian men with a prostate cancer diagnosis all have a one in three chance of dying from the disease, independent of their ethnicity, they found,

Their study does not provide reasons for the increased risk of prostate cancer in black men, and it is not known why black men are at higher than average risk although it is thought it could be genetic.

It cautioned that each individual man's risk is different and will vary based on a combination of factors in addition to ethnicity, such as age, family history of prostate cancer, and body weight.

Lead author Alison Cooper said: "We already knew that black men were more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than white men, however, the data we had was fast becoming out of date.

"The study also provides important absolute risk figures to help black men better understand their risk of developing prostate cancer.

"These figures can be used for targeted awareness-raising and to help them make an informed decision about whether or not to have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test."

The researchers studied prostate cancer incidence and mortality data for England for the period 2008 to 2010 from a combination of sources including Public Health England, Office for National Statistics, and the national census, looking at a total sample size of more than 25 million men, including 102,252 prostate cancer diagnoses and 26,521 deaths due to prostate cancer.

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