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Addressing prostate cancer risk in Black men

15 July 2020

Black men of African or Caribbean ancestry have almost double the risk of developing prostate cancer compared to non-Black men, but a national survey found that many Black respondents weren’t aware that they could be at a higher risk of developing the disease.

The survey, conducted by the former Prostate Cancer Canada which amalgamated with CCS in February 2020, also looked to better understand Black Canadians’ behaviours when it comes to testing for early detection of prostate cancer, and general knowledge about the disease.

To address this knowledge gap about cancer risk, as well as meaningfully engage with patients, researchers and community members, a multidisciplinary advisory council was developed to improve Black community members’ awareness of cancer risk, as well as promote prostate cancer testing through the development of health information and awareness campaigns.

The advisory council is made up of people with cancer, public servants, health professionals and community leaders from across Canada, including Kevin Trotman (pictured left), a cancer survivor. Kevin is chair of the advisory council and believes in the value of the council as a way to increase prostate cancer awareness among Black men.

“We – Black men – who have had prostate cancer know that our community has a hard time accepting the reality of the disease as it affects our manhood,” says Kevin.  “We treat it as more of a threat to manhood than a disease to our health. As a result, we withdraw. We have to format the message to the Black community so it is heard and not feared.”  

Kevin hopes that the council can “act as a public sounding board of the community back to CCS and the government.”

During the council’s initial meetings, members identified issues that uniquely impact Black communities and provided advice on effective methods of engaging with the Black community regarding prostate cancer, other cancers and general health issues.

While advisory council meetings were put on hold due to COVID-19, they will be resumed virtually in the near future.

Interested in learning more about prostate cancer? You can visit our information page on cancer.ca.