Almost 8 in 10 black men don’t think their ethnicity influences prostate cancer risks
A poll of 500 black males found 87 per cent underestimate the fatal impact of prostate cancer.
Two thirds think 5,000 or fewer men die every year from the disease – but in reality, there are 12,000 deaths in the UK alone.
If caught early, the disease can be very treatable, yet only 36 per cent of black men are aware early stage prostate cancer often has no symptoms.
The research by Prostate Cancer UK found 52 per cent of those polled admitted they don’t want to bother a GP unless they have pain or are showing signs of illness.
There are also concerns about being tested, with 64 per cent worried about having a rectal exam, despite a blood test being the best first step to test for the disease.
Figures show one in four black men in the UK will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, which puts them at double the risk of other men, who have a one in eight chance of being diagnosed.
Having a family history of prostate cancer also puts men at increased risk, but 53 per cent of black men were unaware of the additional hereditary link.
Raising prostate cancer awareness
The research was commissioned by Prostate Cancer UK, as part of its ‘What on Earth is a prostate?!’ campaign, which aims to dispel widespread misconceptions about the most common cancer in men.
It has also partnered with Dope Black Dads, a support group and podcast which works to challenge stereotypes about black fatherhood and encourage a progressive, inclusive community of parents.
Chiara De Biase, a spokesperson for the charity, said: “Men’s health can be a minefield.
“Everyone has gaps in their knowledge and every one of us probably believes something that just isn’t true.
“Black men are at double the risk of prostate cancer compared to other men and develop it at a younger age, and the concern is that misconceptions around prostate cancer symptoms and tests could stop men getting a potentially lifesaving diagnosis.
“Without a screening programme, men won’t be invited for testing even when they’re at high risk.
"That’s why we strongly recommend that black men talk to their GP about a regular PSA blood test from the age of 45.
“Men can learn more about their risk and what they can do about it by taking the 30-second risk checker on our website and we’re asking everyone to share it far and wide this Men’s Health Week and beyond.”
Encouraging men to take action
The research, carried out via OnePoll, found half of those polled did not realise age impacts their risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, with 56 per cent unaware they become high risk at the age of 45.
Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) also believe they will be invited for a test by their GP – however this is not the case as there is no screening programme for prostate cancer in the UK.
British actor and Hollywood star Colin MacFarlane, who played Commissioner Loeb in the Dark Knight trilogy, as well as Ulysses in the series Outlander, shared his diagnosis for the first time in support of the campaign.
The 61-year-old said: “In December 2022, nine months on from my brother’s prostate cancer diagnosis, I too was diagnosed.
“I was already aware of the risk to me, so had been having annual and then six monthly, regular PSA blood tests with my GP.
“Thankfully just over a year ago I had told my brother to get a PSA blood test otherwise he wouldn’t have been diagnosed because he had no symptoms.
“I must put my diagnosis into context by saying I am one of the lucky ones, I have been able to catch this very early, which is key as I have no symptoms at all.
“As it’s a very slow-moving cancer I am in the best possible position to ascertain what treatment I would need in the future if that were ever deemed necessary and currently that scenario is a long way off.
“It’s men who take no action and don’t know anything about their prostate health that are at the greatest risk.
“I want all men over 50 and Black men like me over 45 to be aware that they are at higher risk, and that they need to take personal responsibility, take action and speak to their doctor about having a PSA blood test.
“Too many black men are dying of prostate cancer. They need to know that a simple blood test could save their life.”