Data on the epidemiology of prostate cancer from the 1930s to the present document a dramatic racial difference in incidence, survival, and mortality rates in American men. American black men have the highest incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer in the world. Survival data have been related to access to medical care, genetic and environmental factors, and cultural differences, including diet and social habits. Most reports present conflicting data with no clear positive correlations, and conclusions are often speculative. Better controlled, prospective studies of epidemiologic variables and a comprehensive genetic evaluation of black families with prostate cancer are needed to better understand the racial disparity affecting American black men and the biology of this disease in all men.