heart disease, prostate cancer, Black men

Study Reveals Link Between Prostate Cancer And Heart Disease Among Black Men

Researchers are hopeful that the discovery will lead to treatments that will help improve the outcomes for Black men.

A new study presents a link between prostate cancer and a disparity in vascular health between Black and white men. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia presented their findings at the American Physiological Summit between April 4 and April 7 in Long Beach, California. 

As Physiology.org reports, there is already a well-documented racial disparity in prostate cancer outcomes between Black and white men, and the discovery of impaired micro vascular health implies that the Black men they studied who were suffering from prostate cancer are also at risk of heart disease. 

Researchers are hopeful that the discovery will lead to treatments that will help to eliminate the racial disparity between Black and white prostate cancer patients and improve the outcomes of Black men. 

Abigayle Simon, the lead author of the study, told Physiology.org, “Understanding how race impacts the time course of vascular health following diagnosis of prostate cancer will lead to more effective therapeutic strategies to reduce the cardiovascular burden associated with cancer.”

As NBC News reports, it is unclear whether prostate cancer is more common among Black men than white men, but it does seem more aggressive, according to Dr. Abhinav Khanna, a urologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. 

According to Khanna, Black men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as white men. “Not all prostate cancer is lethal, but we have seen that black men do have a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer,” Khanna said.

This elevated risk could be because Black men are less likely to be screened for prostate cancer, according to a study published in Cancer, a medical journal, in 2022..

“If you have first-degree relatives who have prostate cancer, or even secondary-degree relatives, it increases your risk a little bit,” Dr. Adam Murphy, a urologist at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, told NBC News. “And then there are related cancers that run in families like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other germline genetic mutations that can increase your risk, like Lynch syndrome.”

According to Murphy, the controversy around Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin illustrated the stigma around Black men’s sensitivity regarding prostate health. “The way that men engage with health care is very different than what women do because of a lack of having to go into see OB-GYN,” Murphy said. “And so men are oftentimes lost after they graduate from high school or college.”

Murphy continued, “I think what his action (Defense Secretary Austin) did was to kind of highlight the fact that even though he was duty bound to tell that fact, you know, to the White House, that same stigma persisted, that’s how strong it was.”