New York State Department of Health Recognizes Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Department Educates New Yorkers on the Importance of Screening and Early Detection of Prostate Cancer

Non-Hispanic Black Men Have the Highest Rates of Prostate Cancer Compared with Any Other Group

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 12, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health recognizes Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by encouraging men and individuals assigned male at birth to get informed and take action to prevent and detect prostate cancer as early as possible.

"Cancer is a devastating disease that will leave a traumatizing toll on an individual's physical and emotional wellbeing and can deeply dishearten their loved ones," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Screening and early detection is crucial because it can help survivors live healthy lives and thrive despite their diagnosis. Although we continue to see progress over the years, Black men and black individuals with a prostate continue to suffer and die of prostate cancer at a disproportionate rate."

Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado said, "In New York, we are fighting back against the systemic health care inequalities that have negatively impacted Black Americans for generations. Through screenings and early detection, we will continue to unlock preventative care for more people and address existing disparities. Resources are available for accessible prostate cancer screenings. Take proactive steps today so you can continue to live a full, healthy life."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in New York State, excluding skin cancer. Each year, almost 15,500 New Yorkers are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,700 die of the disease. It is estimated that one in seven men assigned male at birth will develop prostate cancer during their life.

Non-Hispanic Black men have the highest rates of prostate cancer incidence and mortality of any racial/ethnic group. In New York State, Black men are one and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer and almost twice as likely to die of the disease compared to White men.

Screening is available to detect prostate cancer early when it may be easiest to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies follow prostate cancer screening guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force). Those assigned male at birth between the ages of 55-69 talk to their health care provider about their risk for prostate cancer and whether screening is the best choice for them. Risks for prostate cancer include family history, race or ethnicity, and other medical conditions. Cancer screening has risks and benefits. The choice to be screened for prostate cancer is an individual one and should be made after talking to a health care provider.

The Task Force does not recommend screening for men age 70 and older. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Cancer screening has risks and benefits. The choice to be screened for prostate cancer is an individual one and should be made after talking to a health care provider.

Department programs and initiatives educate New Yorkers about prostate cancer, as well as provide support to individuals and families impacted by the disease. From 2016-2022, the Department supported a prostate cancer peer education program in which peer educators educated men about prostate cancer and made referrals to health care providers to discuss screening and to community-based organizations to address barriers to screening.

Building off the success of this program, which reached thousands of men, the Department will fund the following four new awardees to offer peer-led education, personalized coaching, linkage to community services, and referral to providers for shared decision making about prostate cancer screening. Grantee activities will be directed to Black men, ages 45 to 69 years old, in select counties that have a disproportionate burden of prostate cancer. The awardees include:

  • Weill Medical College of Cornell University / Kings County
  • The Institute for Family Health / Bronx County
  • University of Rochester / Monroe County
  • Health Research Inc. and Roswell Park Cancer Institute / Erie County

The New York State Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program provides prostate cancer treatment coverage to eligible uninsured individuals.

Enrolling in health care coverage can improve access to medical care and reduce the risk of illness, including cancer. To enroll in health coverage or to find out about financial assistance to lower the cost of health coverage, contact the NY State of Health at 1-855-355-5777 (TTY: 1-800-662-1220) or visit Resources | NY State of Health.

During the last seven years, the Department awarded 26 New York-based cancer research centers awards to support innovative, hypothesis-generating prostate cancer research projects. In total, the 26 research centers conducted 51 hypothesis development research projects. Hypothesis development is an important phase of the research process in which evidence is gathered to develop new research questions that inform future studies and establish the basis for pursuing additional funding opportunities through entities such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, or the Department of Defense. These grants maximized the potential impact and reach of Department funding to advance research into prostate cancer to address its heavy burden on New Yorkers.

The New York State Cancer Registry actively collaborates on research studies with the goal of improving cancer outcomes and reducing health disparities. Current studies include the RESPOND Study of research on prostate cancer in men of African ancestry.

The New York State Cancer Consortium is a statewide network made up of more than 200 members from the public and private sectors whose missions are aligned with reducing cancer incidence and mortality.

The New York State Cancer Registry and cancer statistics may be found here.

More information on prostate cancer, including, prevention, treatment, and resources may be found here.