Research indicates that men with African ancestry or men with darker skin pigmentation globally are twice as likely to contract prostate cancer, and in addition present more aggressive disease characteristics. Due to the fact that they are at higher risk, they are 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease.
According to the National Cancer Registry of 2017, a total of 8 937 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, of which 4 070 were black men, with a lifetime risk of 21, meaning one in 21 black men will get prostate cancer. Garron Gsell, CEO of Men’s Foundation, says while there’s debate that this is due to societal factors such as less access to quality care and treatment resulting in late diagnoses, rather than purely genetics, further research is required for a deeper understanding going forward.
“Men with a family history of prostate or breast cancer are predisposed to developing prostate cancer, proving that there is a genetic influence that doubles the risk of developing the disease. However, all men are at risk given there are acquired gene mutations relating to prostate cancer that seem to develop during a man’s life rather than having been inherited,” he says.
There are over 27 forms of prostate cancer, some of which are more aggressive than others, reinforcing the need for early detection. While further research is currently underway to develop a global prostate cancer registry to this effect, Garron says more than 80% of reported prostate cancer is in men over the age of 50. While he has experienced men as young as 40 developing prostate cancer, Garron reinforces that men should go for an annual check-up from the age of 40, particularly if they are not aware of their family history.
Some of the risk factors are diet and obesity. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher risk of getting prostate cancer. Added to this, obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced cancer that is more difficult to treat, with specific reference to belly fat.
Text by: TIYESE JERANJI
This article appears in the latest issue of Destiny Magazine. To read more get your copy now.