Here in the USA, a major issue over the past 20 years has been the fact that prostate cancer in African Americans appears to have earlier onset than prostate cancer in other ethnic groups. The same appears to be the case in Caribbean nations. However, there is a significant potential implication of this — which is that prostate cancer in Africans living in Africa may also be a disease that has early onset and relatively high risk.
The historically available data on the incidence and prevalence of cancer in Africa and prostate cancer in particular is poor, for all sorts of reasons (war, famine, AIDS, limited health services, you name it). However, with improvements in the management of infectious diseases and other disorders, African lifespan is increasing, and we are going to start seeing an increasing incidence and prevalence of cancer in many African nations. Prostate cancer is potentially a major threat to African males of 40 and older.
Initiatives to expand cancer risk awareness in Africa are beginning. Organizations like AfrOx and others have taken early steps, and a group of individuals meeting on The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink’s Social Network is also interested in exploring how we can use the Web to make information more widely available on a country by country basis. All ideas are welcome. Does anyone have experience of submitting grant requests to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?