There is a wealth of evidence which can be traced back to the African transatlantic slave trade indicating that black men have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared to other ethnic groups. Migration to Westernised countries may have had little effect on the incidence of prostate cancer in this ethnic group; however, current evidence indicates that there are several complex factors that may contribute to this risk.
Studies in the UK quote that black men are at 2–3 times the risk of prostate cancer in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts, with a 30% higher mortality rate. Caution should be taken prior to the interpretation of these results due to a paucity of research in this area, limited accurate ethnicity data, and lack of age-specific standardisation for comparison. Cultural attitudes towards prostate cancer and health care in general may have a significant impact on these figures, combined with other clinico-pathological associations.
This update summarises new contributory research on this subject, highlighting the need to increase awareness and understanding of prostate cancer amongst high-risk communities and to support further robust research in this area by nominating a lead in cancer and ethnicity studies within the National Health Service.