A national study of prostate cancer in African Americans

The National Cancer Institute has invested over $20 million in a new study that will attempt to enroll 10,000 African-American men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer: the RESPOND study. For additional information see this media release from the National Cancer Institute (issued back in July).

The study has been designed to explore environmental and genetic factors that may be related to aggressiveness of prostate cancer in African-American men so that we can get a better understanding about why African Americans experience a disproportionally high level of aggressive prostate cancer compared with men of other racial and ethnic groups.

Prostate Cancer International would encourage all African American males who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer to learn more and then to enroll in this study.

We appreciate the history of poor ethical and moral behaviors exhibited in the past — through things like the Tuskegee experiment and the misappropriation of the cells from Henrietta Lacks used to create the HeLa cells line. We understand how that has led to mistrust of medical research and the medical research community among many African Americans. However, it is important for African-American men to appreciate that we need their help if we are ever to be able to discover exactly why they get diagnosed with prostate cancer more frequently than any other ethnic group of males, and die from this condition more often as well.

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