New study to tackle barriers to early cancer diagnosis

“Action is needed urgently to ensure everyone can benefit from early diagnosis of prostate cancer”


Researchers are working with members of the Black community to develop and run workshops to raise awareness of prostate cancer risk and encourage men to get help early.

The project has been awarded £157,688 worth of funding as part of the charity, Prostate Cancer Research’s racial disparities research programme, aimed at addressing the health inequalities in prostate cancer faced by Black men.

Researchers at the University of Sunderland are working in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Glasgow, Teesside University and Ubuntu Multicultural Centre on the project.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. Black men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer compared to White men, and 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease. Despite this, previous research from Prostate Cancer Research found that only a quarter (24%) of Black men were aware of this increased risk.

The researchers will work with community members in Scotland and the north-east to delve into the reasons that Black men don’t seek help early, and develop, test and refine tactics that might help, including training peer educators. If successful, the workshops could be rolled out more widely across the UK.

Lead researcher Dr Floor Christie-de Jong explains: “Early diagnosis can save lives, but Black men are often diagnosed late. Action is needed urgently to ensure everyone can benefit from early diagnosis of prostate cancer, particularly people at higher risk.

“Interventions developed in collaboration with the community work best to make sure an intervention is useful and culturally a good fit. In this project we will work together with Black men to develop an intervention to raise awareness of prostate cancer risk and support Black men in recognising the value of getting help early.”

Dr Naomi Elster, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer Research, said:

“Dr Christie-de Jong and her team have a really strong track record of working with communities to co-design the things that would help them access early diagnosis, and we’re very happy to support a team that puts such a strong focus on handing over control to the people with lived experience of an issue, so it’s not a top-down approach.

“It’s also important that we take location into account – if you are a member of an ethnic minority in the north-east and Scotland, where this work is based, your experiences are likely to be different to if you lived in some of the larger cities in the south, and what you need might be different too. We’re proud to support work that focuses on providing the right support to people, where they are.”

Prostate Cancer Research has committed to funding at least three rounds of targeted projects which will explore solutions to the racial disparity within prostate cancer over the next three years, as part of a broader health inequities programme which also focuses on health literacy and data.

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