f o r A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n s
A D e c i s i o n G u i d e
This booklet was developed by the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC). Published in October 2003.
To help you understand
both sides of the issue,
let’s begin with the basics.
right for you?
The decision is yours.
Some medical experts believe all
men should be offered regular
screening tests for prostate cancer.
Other medical experts do not.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that only men have. It is part of the
reproductive system that makes the fluid that carries sperm. As you can
see in the picture below, the prostate is located in front of the rectum and
just below the bladder. The urethra (the tube that carries urine from the
bladder to outside the body) runs through the center of the prostate. As
men age, the prostate tends to increase in size. This can cause the urethra
to narrow and decrease urine flow.
THE PROST ATE AND PROST ATE CANCER
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is made up of cells that do not grow normally. The cells
divide and create new cells that the body does not need, forming a mass
of tissue called a tumor. These abnormal cells sometimes spread to other
parts of the body, multiply, and cause death.
What causes prostate cancer?
As with many types of cancers, medical experts do not know what causes
prostate cancer. They are studying several possible causes.
Can prostate cancer be prevented?
Medical experts do not know how to prevent prostate cancer. But they are
studying many factors. They do know that not smoking, eating a healthy
diet, staying physically active, and seeing your doctor regularly contribute
to overall good health.
Are African American men at increased risk for prostate cancer?
Yes. Though all men are at risk, African American men have higher rates
of getting and dying from prostate cancer than men of other ra