Harvard Perspectives on Prostate Disease

Getting the word out

Two prostate cancer survivors talk about raising awareness of the disease among African Americans and other men at high risk

Chances are, if you randomly asked men on the street about their lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, you'd be met with a handful of blank stares and several incorrect guesses. Probably only a few people, such as health care workers and cancer researchers, would know the correct answer: based on rates from 2004 to 2006, 15.9% of males born today will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. Expressed another way, one in six will be diagnosed with the disease.

Key points

  • Men at high risk for prostate cancer, including African Americans and anyone with a family history of the disease, often aren't aware of their increased risk.

  • Individuals and organizations have launched community programs to help men better understand their risks and explain why men at high risk for prostate cancer should consider being screened for the disease — even though recent studies found that screening has few benefits for men at average risk.

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