Genetic Study Searches for Cause of Prostate Cancer
African American men die twice as fast from the disease as any other race of men.
And now, researchers are looking at heredity as the primary cause within this male
population. Having access to information and funding is critical in fighting this disease
because lives have been saved, when detected early.
For this reason, the “Find the Cause” campaign was recently launched by the
National Physician and Family Referral Project or NPFR. The organization provides
Independent recruitment services for national research. It is a division of 50 Hoops
Tournaments and Health Fairs.
Recent studies on prostate cancer done at the National Institute of Health (NIH)
indicate some men with prostate cancer may also have male relatives with this disease. In
a previous NIH study, 100 men participated. However, only two were African American. In
both cases, prostate cancer was found in other family members. The new study will allow
researchers to examine how the disease specifically affects African-American men. It is the
only genetic study of its type currently being done.
The disproportionate numbers of Black men who get prostate cancer has gained the
attention of African American leaders. "I'm really concerned about prostate cancer. Too
many of us are not getting the message," said U.S. Rep. (Calif.) Maxine Waters. "Our men
should start getting screenings by age 40. If not, some of them are going to die. My husband
gets his check up twice a year."
"It is extremely important that more African-American families with prostate cancer
be included in national studies so that we can find out if this disease does run in the family
of more African Americans," says Dr. Georgia Dunston, National Human Genome Center at
Founded in 1995, 50 Hoops provides education and access to free screening to
underserved populations through its partnerships with major cancer hospitals and
universities. Its name comes from the main event—men aged 50 + playing in half-court
basketball team competition. Cities slated for the 2003 tournaments are Philadelphia,
St. Louis and Dallas.
While breast cancer has attracted strong media coverage over the past few years,
prostate cancer has lacked the notoriety necessary to significantly increase awareness. In
support of NPFR’s grassroots and media outreach, public service announcements and news
programs run nationwide.
Famous men who have survived prostate cancer include former New York Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, Harry Belafonte, D.C. Mayor Marion Berry, flutist and composer Herbie Mann,
singer Billy Davis (formerly of the Fifth Dimension), and L.A. Urban League President
If you are an African American survivor of prostate cancer, a relative of a survivor, or
a physician treating prostate cancer patients, please call the toll-free hotline at (800) 677-8441
or visit the website at www.npfr.resourcez.com.