Prostate Cancer Screening Works Better Than Expected For Black Men: Study

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Even though Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is in September, a new study is showing some promising results for early screening –– especially for Black men.

According to a newly released study, a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer is having an even greater impact on detecting the disease than previously thought. The study, published Sunday (May 15) in the New England Journal of Medical Evidence, examined the rate at which the commonly used blood test led to over-diagnosis or over-treatment across races, with particular attention to Black men.

What researchers found was that the screening test was better than scientists originally thought and that Black men saw the greatest benefit from it.

Looking at the numbers, researchers found that the test prevented one death for every 11 to 14 men across every race. For Black men, the test prevented one death for every 8 to 12 men diagnosed and one death for every 5 to 9 men treated for prostate cancer.

Previous data showed that the test prevented one death for every 23 men diagnosed.

In the US, Black men have a doubled risk of developing prostate cancer as other men and get this type of cancer at higher rates. Black men have also routinely been left out of data studies that looked at diagnostic tools' success for prostate cancer.

"These data should prompt policymakers to reconsider the utility of the PSA based prostate cancer screening, particularly for Black men," the study says. "The potential for overdiagnosis and overtreatment remains, although these harms may be mitigated by contemporary protocols for triaging men before biopsy and active surveillance for me with low-risk disease."

Find out more on prostate cancer awareness at the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which launched the largest prostate cancer study of Black men in 2020.

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