Prostate Cancer kills African American men at more than twice the rate as white men. More African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer than white men. We don’t know why.
What we don’t know is staggering. We don’t know if we are diagnosing the exact same disease in African American men as we are in white men. We don’t know if the exact same mechanisms and pathways to metastasis occur in African American men as they do in men of other racial groups. Because so few African American men participate in clinical trials, we don’t know for certain if the treatments that we offer African American men will work as well as they do for white men. We only know that, when we count the corpses, African American men are dying at twice the rate as white men from a disease that we currently call, prostate cancer. Malecare’s new program, Twice As Many, will try to change that.
Malecare has been helping men with prostate cancer since 1998. We provide in-person and online support groups and several cancer stage focused newsletters and websites. Early on, while most of the white men in our support groups were asking questions about initial treatments like surgery or radiation, most of the African American men were asking questions about late stage treatments or how they could better manage pain in their hips and back. We didn’t quite understand the disparity issues right away, but we did understand that something was up when, in Malecare’s New York City group, an African American man attended with his nurse and an IV line of pain meds. We searched for more information, with difficulty.
So, in 2002, Malecare, started an online database of research that focused on African American’s and Prostate Cancer. We hoped to get young investigators jazzed up about this exciting research field. But it was an expensive program and none of the funders we approached would help. Then, we noticed that not only were African American men disproportionately presenting with advanced stage disease, but that they were younger, too.
Malecare has a program called, Prostate Cancer Under 50. Malecare also has a program called the Black Dad Connection, where we connect African American Dad’s with parenting support and health information. And, in 2014 Malecare financed an African American research project at Johns Hopkins. But these three important projects have not been enough.
Twice As Many will help to fill three deficits:
- Twice As Many will enlist African American men in an Army of Men who will consider participating in survey research and clinical trials. We will work to insure that all clinical trials have African American marketing strategies, and, for those who don’t, Malecare will help.
- Twice As Many will enlist African American men in an Army of Men who will promote prostate cancer awareness, particularly to men in their thirties and forties, via social media and organization meetings. We will collaborate with organizations throughout the United States to build awareness of this critical disparity issue. A primary goal of Twice As Many will be that every American man and women will know that prostate cancer kills African American men at a rate that is twice as many as for white men.
- Twice As Many will work with alumni organizations to help promote prostate cancer research as a career, with an emphasis on working on the Twice As Many disparity issue.
- Twice As Many will also work hand in hand with Malecare’s Facing Cancer Alone program, for men who live alone and our LGBT Cancer Project, for the important underserved population of Gay and Bisexual African American men who are also diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
Twice As Many will also promote the opportunity of understanding that research on this extraordinary disparity presents. Malecare will work in collaboration with partners throughout the United States to meet the Twice As Many twin goals of eliminating the disparity issue as well as reducing death and agony from prostate cancer.