University of Michigan Study Focuses on Higher Prostate Cancer Mortality Rates for Black Men: Social Determinants of Health May Be the Answer

May 25, 2019 | African Americans, Black Males, Mortality, Oncology, Prostate Cancer, University of Michigan

The University of Michigan embarked on one of the largest studies of its kind and found societal factors and access to quality care, rather than genetics, underlie higher prostate cancer mortality rates for black men.

Study Finding

The University of Michigan, Health Lab Report’s, Jordyn Imhoff writes Black men are at far greater risk than whites according to a recent University of Michigan study. In fact, black men are 2.5 times more likely to die of the disease compared to white men.  The University of Michigan sought to answer why.

Recently published in JAMA Oncology, the team led by the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center analyzed data from more than 300,000 prostate cancer patients to better understand outcomes and what factors are involved.

The investigators involved noted in addition to the prostate cancer diagnosis, black men were more likely to combat cardiovascular disease and obesity which could contribute to a shorter life.

The team found the data doesn’t lead to a conclusion that black men don’t intrinsically and biologically face greater danger.  The team did find that black men get fewer PSA screenings  and are more likely to get diagnosed at a later state cancer.

The University of Michigan team ultimately uncovered a core reality that the social determinants of health have material impacts on health. In this case due to historical and perhaps present-day circumstances, African Americans face greater socio-economic challenges than those of whites.

A key to changing this course undoubtedly is improved localized community care coordination in at risk communities including black males.

Lead Research/Investigator

Daniel Spratt, MD, co-Chair of Genitourinary Clinical Research


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