1. In Black men, what are the chances of being diagnosed
with prostate cancer?
1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their
2. Does this mean that 1 in every 4 Black men today
will have prostate cancer?
No. Lifetime risk means the risk that someone has of being
diagnosed with the disease at some point during their life.
3. Who do we mean when we say ‘Black’
The 1 in 4 lifetime risk was worked out using information about
men recorded as ‘Black African’, Black Caribbean’ and Black Other‘.
We did not include ‘Black mixed’ as there was not have enough data
about this group in the records.
4. Does this new statistic mean that Black men have
an even higher risk of developing prostate cancer than previously
No, the risk is still the same, but we have a clearer way to
tell men about it.
We already knew that Black men had the highest risk of
developing prostate cancer among all ethnic groups, and that they
were three times more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to
white men of the same age. This information is still correct – it
is just a different way of explaining a man’s risk of getting
Find out more about how our experts worked out this new
5. Why do Black men have a higher risk of
developing prostate cancer?
Research is being done to find out, but so far no definite
reasons have been found.
We do know that higher rates of prostate cancer are seen in men
of African descent across the UK, US, Caribbean and West Africa,
and this could suggest a genetic link between these men and their
prostate cancer risk.
Other factors, such as diet, could also affect the risk of
developing prostate cancer. Increasing age is the most important
6. How many Black men are diagnosed, or living,
with prostate cancer?
We know that, in the UK, about 250,000 men are currently living
with and beyond prostate cancer but we do not know how many of
these are Black men. This is due to lack of data on patient
ethnicity, and work is on-going to improve collection of this
information throughout the health care system.
7. Having a close male relative with prostate cancer
increases your risk by 2.5 times. What does that mean for a Black
man – who already has a raised risk?
The 1 in 4 lifetime risk is an average risk and applies to all
Black men regardless of whether they have a relative with prostate
cancer or not. This is because the data used to calculate this risk
included Black men who have close relatives with prostate cancer,
and those who don’t. So the average lifetime risk remains 1 in 4,
but each man’s individual’s risk might be slightly higher or lower
than this average, depending on other risk factors – such as
having a close relative or not, and his age.
8. What should I do next?
Prostate cancer mainly affects men over the age of 50 and risk
increases with age. All men aged over 50 are entitled to have a PSA (Prostate
Specific Antigen) blood test as long as they have first
talked through the pros and cons with their GP.
However, some men do develop prostate cancer at a younger age
than 50. So if you are in your 40’s and you are worried about
prostate cancer because you are in a high risk
group or have symptoms, visit
your GP or speak to one of our Specialist Nurses on our confidential helpline, to discuss whether a
test is right for you.
9. What is Prostate Cancer UK doing to address
prostate cancer within the Black community?
Prostate Cancer UK provides information and support to all men
affected by prostate cancer. We carry out research to
understand how prostate cancer impacts on the Black community and
we will be investing in research to build our knowledge of why
Black men are more likely to develop this disease.
We also work closely with the Black community to deliver
activities that inform men of their risk, and support them to act
on any concerns or questions they have about prostate problems or
prostate cancer as soon as possible.
We recently launched the Partnering for progress programme,
working closely with organisations and individuals in the Black
community to build an ambitious programme for addressing prostate
cancer in this community.
Read more about our work in the
This statistic was released on 17 October 2013. See our press release here.