Disparities in prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates: Solvable or not?

Document Type



Pathology (East Africa)


Prostate cancer (PCa) is recognized as a disease possessing not only great variation in its geographic and racial distribution but also tremendous variation in its potential to cause morbidity and death and it, therefore, ought not to be considered a homogenous disease entity. Morbidity and death from PCa are disproportionately higher in men of African ancestry (MAA) who are generally observed to have more aggressive disease and worse outcomes following treatment compared to men of European ancestry (MEA). The higher rates of PCa among MAA relative to MEA appear to be multifactorial and related to inherent differences in biological aggressiveness; a continued lack of awareness of the disease and methods of prevention; a lower prevalence of screen‐detected PCa; comparatively lower access to quality healthcare as well as systemic and institutionalized disparities in the administration of optimal care to MAA in developed countries such as the United States of America where high‐quality care is available. Even when access to quality healthcare is assured in equal access settings, it appears that MAA still have worse outcomes after PCa treatment stage‐for‐stage and grade‐for‐grade compared to MEA, suggesting that, inherent racial, ethnic and biological differences are paramount in predicting poor outcomes. This review has explored the different contributing factors to the current disparities in PCa incidence and mortality rates with emphasis on the incongruence in how research has been conducted in understanding the disease towards developing therapies.