The study is a joint effort by prostate cancer researchers and experts from around the country and will seek to find out why African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and die from it.
One in six African American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be twice as likely to die from the disease, compared to other races. This is because their cancers tend to appear much earlier in life and be more aggressive.
The reasons for this remain unclear. But with the RESPOND study researchers are trying to understand why prostate cancer takes a harsher toll on African American men.
The study plans to include 10,000 men nationwide and examine a number of factors and their potential influence on the development and progression of prostate cancer in this group.
Researchers will look at the effects of social stressors, such as discrimination, socio-economic status, education, home life and location, and early-life events, as well as genetic and biological factors.
Participants also will be asked to complete a survey, provide a saliva sample, and allow researchers to access prostate tissue samples.
“The results of this landmark study will allow us to better understand the disparities in incidence and mortality of prostate cancer in African American men,” Melissa Bondy, PhD, said in a story by Molly Chiu.
Researchers are hopeful the findings uncovered by the study will help develop better treatments, spot aggressive cancer before they become harder to eliminate, and ultimately save lives.
Charles Amos, a prostate cancer survivor and study participant, encourages others to join. Amos also is the president of Tex Us Too, a support group for patients with prostate cancer and their families.
“I know a study going on right now can’t prevent me from having prostate cancer,” he said. “But I think studies like this would help in the treatment, if not prevention, of my son and my grandsons from having it.”
According to Amos, African American men are less likely to discuss their health and participate in this type of study. But, he reminds, the importance of getting involved is to help forward research and benefit from that knowledge.
“I’ve come to understand that if someone else had not taken part in some study, then cures, preventions and treatments would not be as far along as they are if someone had not volunteered to do it,” he said.
For those in Texas, qualified participants must be African American men diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2015 or later. A compensatory allowance of up to $50 will be given for taking part in the study. For more information visit respondstudy.org.
Other institutions involved are the University of Southern California, which will be the study’s coordinating center, University of California San Francisco, Public Health Institute (both in California), Moffitt Cancer Center (Florida), Emory University (Georgia), Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (Louisiana), Johns Hopkins University (Maryland), Wayne State University (Michigan), New Jersey Department of Health and Rutgers University (both in New Jersey).