According to a recent study published in the British Journal of General Practice, researchers from University of Exeter Medical School in Exeter, United Kingdom, have found that black men are less willing to be investigated for prostate cancer, thereby increasing the likelihood of being diagnosed as emergencies and having a higher mortality rate compared with white men.
For the study, researchers identified over 500 men attending general practices in Bristol, United Kingdom, and presented them with realistic hypothetical scenarios in which the participants was given a description of a prostate cancer symptom and the estimated risk of prostate cancer.
Results showed that black men were less likely to prefer investigation of the symptom despite the risk given in the scenario. Researchers found that when participants were presented with scenarios associated with the lowest risk level, only 44% of black males opted for investigation versus 91% of white males.
Among both groups, the most common reason for choosing not to investigate the symptom was low risk, but significantly more black participants reported that they did not want to know if they had cancer.
The findings suggest that health care professionals should proactively discuss the subject of cancer with their patients and education targeted at the black community may help reduce fear of cancer investigation.
The incidence of prostate cancer among men of Afro-Caribbean origin is higher than in white men, they are more likely to be diagnosed as emergencies and their mortality rates are higher. Until now it has been unclear why these disappointing outcomes exist.