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Originally published June 2021

Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control. The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.


The prostate is below the bladder (the hollow organ where urine is stored) and in front of the rectum (the last part of the intestines). Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the center of the prostate.

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The size of the prostate can change as a man gets older. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.

Here are some stats:

  • About 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer  during his lifetime

  • The Average age of men at diagnosis is about 66years of age

  • Compared with White men, African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer

  • Black men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer even if the cancer is “low-grade” for the disease

Risk Factors contributing to more aggressive prostate cancer disease in Black Men:

  • Socioeconomic status: African American men are more likely to have a lower socioeconomic status than other men. Low socioeconomic status has links to a higher chance of cancer due to reduced access to medical care and the ability to pay for it.

  • Racial bias in health care: African American men may face racial bias in healthcare, and in some cases, may avoid treatment because of it. For example, African American men are less likely to receive prostate screenings or Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests. They are also less likelyTrusted Source to be offered prostate cancer screenings.

  • Delayed care: Some Black males may be afraid of getting a prostate exam or may have difficulty accessing or paying for healthcare due to various factors, such as socioeconomic status.

 

While the general guidelines recommend starting at age 55, you may need PSA screening between the ages of 40 and 54 if you:

  • Have at least one first-degree relative (such as your father or brother) who has had prostate cancer

  • Have at least two extended family members who have had prostate cancer

  • Are African-American, an ethnicity that has a higher risk of developing more aggressive cancers

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