Prostate cancer, particularly among African Americans is a disgraceful tragedy that needs immediate and dramatic action”
John R. Kelly, PhD
Board of Directors, American Cancer Society (JAMA 2/11/98)
Prostate cancer in the United States…
- affects 1 in 9 men
- is most common in African Americans, men over 50, and men with a family history of cancer.
- causes 37,000 deaths a year.
Surviving Prostate Cancer
The average age of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 72 years, so many patients with prostate cancer, especially those whose disease is confined to the prostate gland, may die of other illnesses or old age without ever having suffered significant disability from their cancer.
Survival rates for all stages of prostate cancer have steadily improved over the past 50 years. This means that today, more than 75% of men who have prostate cancer can expect to live at least five years from the time the cancer is diagnosed. For men with prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate gland, the 5-year survival rate climbs to 99%.
- According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among African American men.
- The prostate cancer incidence rate for African American men is 50% higher than that of European American men. The screening rate for European American men in 1997 was 62%, versus 42% for African American men.
- Approximately 56% of all prostate cancer in African American men is diagnosed while still localized, a stage which has a relative five-year survival rate of 93%. When diagnosed at a later stage, the relative five-year survival rate drops to 30%.
- The current life expectancy for African American men in San Francisco is 56.6 years, which is below the 1940 life expectancy for European American men.
- Approximately 7,250 African American men 40 to 79 years of age are living in the Bayview Hunters Point, Visitation Valley, Western Addition, and Ocean View/Merced/Ingleside communities in San Francisco. These neighborhoods have some of the highest prostate cancer rates in the San Francisco.
American Cancer Society; Cancer Facts and Figures for African Americans 1998–1999; 1990 U.S. Census; Community Health Profile: Summary of Preliminary Results, HERC Environmental Assessment Project, Draft, 1999.