Prostate cancer (PCa) in African American men is one of the most common cancers with a great disparity in outcomes. The higher incidence and tendency to present with more advanced disease have prompted investigators to postulate that this is a problem of innate biology. However, unequal access to health care and poorer quality of care raise questions about the relative importance of genetics versus social/health injustice. Although race is inconsistent with global human genetic diversity, we need to understand the sociocultural reality that race and racism impact biology. Genetic studies reveal enrichment of PCa risk alleles in populations of West African descent and population-level differences in tumor immunology. Structural racism may explain some of the differences previously reported in PCa clinical outcomes; fortunately, there is high-level evidence that when care is comparable, outcomes are comparable.
Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.). 0000 Dec [Epub]
Mack Roach, Pamela W Coleman, Rick Kittles
From the Particle Therapy Research Program & Outreach, Department of Radiation Oncology, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA., Department of Surgery/Obstetrics-Gynecology, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC., Morehouse Medical School, Atlanta, GA.