The African-American prostate cancer epidemic

Senator John Kerry and radio personality Don Imus, both of whom are prostate cancer survivors, joined America’s Prostate Cancer Organizations on Sunday in support of greater emphasis on prostate cancer education and awareness in the African American community, despite a humorous admission that they don’t usually have a lot in common.

Writing in an op-ed in the Boston Globe, Kerry and Imus said that “The greatest problem is that prostate cancer remains a silent epidemic, especially among African Americans.”

They went on to comment that although “men of all races need to know about prostate cancer, the incidence rate for African Americans is shockingly 60 percent higher than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.” They also “have far higher mortality rates — 140 percent higher than any other group.”

Kerry and Imus supported the idea that “federal funding should be prioritized to increase education, raise awareness, and continue research focused on addressing prostate cancer’s impact on African-Americans.” They also stated that “African-American men should start being screened for prostate cancer at age 45, five years earlier than men of other races,” and “all men, regardless of race, should be screened earlier if there is a history of prostate cancer in the family.”

Americas Prostate Cancer Organizations support House Resolution 345 (authored by Rep. Meeks of New York) which details the epidemic nature of prostate cancer in the African-American community and supports the need for appropriate research and education to combat this serious problem. Prostate Cancer International and other organizations encourage US voters to call the office of their congressman or congresswoman in Washington, ask for the health policy staff member, and ask that your representative “signs on” as a co-sponsor of H.R. 345.

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