1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men, who have a 1 in 8 chance of getting prostate cancer. We don’t know why, but it might be linked to genes. We're funding research to find out why Black men are at higher risk of prostate cancer than other men.
You may also be more likely to get prostate cancer as a Black man if:
- you are aged 45 or over – and your risk increases as you get older
- your father or brother has had it
- your mother or sister has had breast cancer.
Prostate cancer and other prostate problems
Information for Black men. This leaflet explains about prostate cancer and other prostate problems, including who is at risk and what changes to look out for.
I’m a Black man over 45. What should I do next?
If you’re Black, have a prostate and you’re over 45, speak to your GP about your risk of prostate cancer. We also strongly recommend you speak to them about having a PSA test (a blood test that can help diagnose prostate cancer).
There are advantages and disadvantages to having a PSA test. You’ll need to talk to your GP or practice nurse about these before deciding whether to have one. Remember to tell them if anyone in your family has had prostate cancer or breast cancer.
You can also get in touch with our Specialist Nurses, who can help you understand your risk of prostate cancer. You may find it helpful to take our 30 second risk checker.
Why would I go to my GP if I don’t have any symptoms?
Most men with early prostate cancer (cancer that’s contained inside the prostate) don’t have any symptoms.
Symptoms usually develop if the cancer grows near and presses against the tube you urinate through, changing the way you urinate (wee). But because prostate cancer usually starts to grow in a different part (usually the outer part) of the prostate, early prostate cancer doesn’t often press on the urethra and cause symptoms.
If prostate cancer breaks out of the prostate (locally advanced prostate cancer) or spreads to other parts of the body (advanced prostate cancer), it can cause other symptoms.
If you do have prostate cancer and it’s caught early before it causes symptoms, there’s a good chance treatment could stop the cancer spreading. It may not be possible to cure your cancer but you may be able to have treatment to help control the cancer and manage symptoms.
What will happen if I go to my GP?
Your GP will talk to you about your risk of prostate cancer and the tests you can have to diagnose it. There are a few tests that can find out whether you might have prostate cancer or another prostate problem, such as an enlarged prostate or prostatitis.
Your GP will talk to you about your test results and what they mean. If they think you may have a prostate problem, they may make an appointment for you to see a specialist at the hospital. There are advantages and disadvantages of having tests for prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor or nurse about these.
It’s natural to feel worried or embarrassed about going to the doctor or having tests. But don’t let that stop you going to your GP. Remember, the tests give your GP the best idea about whether you have a problem that needs treating.
If you’re not sure about what to say to your GP, print and fill out this form and show it to them. This will help you have the conversation.
Read more about tests or download our leaflet Prostate cancer and other prostate problems: Information for black men. You can also speak to our Specialist Nurses about what to expect at a GP appointment.
What can I do if my doctor won't give me a PSA blood test?
If you’re a Black man over 50, you have the right to a PSA test if you've thought carefully about the advantages and disadvantages.
If your GP doesn't agree to give you a PSA test, you can ask to see another GP or practice nurse, or make a complaint. Read more about what you can do.
If you’re a Black man aged 45-49, you aren’t entitled to a PSA test until you’re 50. But, because you’re at higher risk, many health professionals believe that you should be able to have tests from the age of 45 if you've thought about the advantages and disadvantages. We have guidelines for health professionals that explain this. It might help to show these to your GP or practice nurse. Or ask to see another GP or practice nurse.
If you’re a Black man aged 40-44, you aren’t entitled to a PSA test until you’re 50. But some health professionals believe that you should think about asking for a baseline PSA test. This might help to work out your risk of getting prostate cancer in future. We have guidelines for health professionals that explain this. It might help to show these to your GP or practice nurse. Or ask to see another GP or practice nurse.
If you’re a Black man under 40, you could consider asking for a baseline test when you are 40.
I’m a Black man under 45. What can I do?
When you’re 45, speak to your GP about your risk of prostate cancer.
If you’re aged 40-44, you could think about asking for a PSA test to help work out your risk of getting prostate cancer in the future. The aim of a baseline test is not to help diagnose prostate cancer, but to help work out your risk of getting prostate cancer in the future.
There is some research suggesting that your PSA level in your 40s could be used to predict how likely you are to get prostate cancer, or fast-growing (aggressive) prostate cancer, later in life. If the test suggests you’re at higher risk, you and your doctor may decide to do regular PSA tests. This might be a good way to spot any changes in your PSA level that might suggest prostate cancer.
However, we don’t yet know exactly what PSA level in your 40s would show an increased risk of prostate cancer, or how often you should have more tests. Because of this, baseline testing isn’t very common in the UK.
Your GP doesn’t have to give you a baseline PSA test. If your GP won’t give you a test, read about what you can do.
Updated: January 2023｜To be reviewed: January 2025
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- Roshna Bhulia, Trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioner
- Christian Brown, Consultant Urologist
- Francis Chinegwundoh MBE, Consultant Urological Surgeon
- Nicola Lancaster, Macmillan Metastatic Prostate Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Our Specialist Nurses
- Our volunteers.