Scientists and researchers have named several reasons for why Black men are seemingly targeted by prostate cancer. These reasons being genetics, environment, healthcare, and mistrust.
By Da’Shaun HarrisonI received the news the morning before Thanksgiving. It was around 1:30am that Wednesday when my mom walked downstairs, quiet and teary-eyed. I was lying on the couch watching Netflix, as I often do before I sleep. I looked over at her and waited, waited for her to share the news with me which led her to weep. She stared for a moment and then, immobile, she stood by a chair near me and stated, “Uncle Donald just passed.”My heart sank. I had just visited my Uncle Donald in the hospital earlier in the year. In August, to be exact. He had been diagnosed with Stage IV Prostate Cancer a little while before that, so I visited him knowing that it could be the last time I ever saw him. However, just a few days after visiting him, he was discharged from the hospital. I knew that this did not mean that his fight with cancer was over, but I was still not prepared to hear that he had died.I lost my maternal grandfather in March of 2010 to prostate cancer as well, I remember that day vividly, I begged my mom to allow me to skip school that morning because I did not want to miss a moment with my granddad. The family sat and laughed, cried, and conversed waiting on ‘that’ moment. And that afternoon, it came. Lying in his bed in Hospice Care, he took his last breath while I stood beside his bed—his hand in mine. My mom was there with me then, too. She had leaned over his bed and, just as she did this time when she delivered the news of Uncle Donald’s passing, she wept. I was only 13, maybe 14-years-old, then.Just days after receiving the news about my uncle’s death, my father informed me that my paternal grandfather had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer as well.My family is not unfamiliar with prostate cancer. However, what I did not know during my maternal grandfather’s battle is that many Black American families are not unfamiliar with prostate cancer. According to Prostate Cancer News Today, Black American men are known to have a 60 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer in comparison to white men, and their chances of dying of the disease are twice as high.