Migration and prostate cancer: an international perspective

J Natl Med Assoc. 1998 Nov;90(11 Suppl):S720-3.


There are intra- and interracial differences in prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates worldwide. The environment and migration patterns seem to influence the disparities in cancer statistics. The lowest incidence rate is recorded in Chinese, followed by other Asians, South Americans, southern Europeans, and northern Europeans, in ascending order. However, people of African descent have the highest incidence so far. Until recently, African Americans in Alameda County (California) in the United States had the highest reported incidence (160/1000,000). An incidence of 314/100,000 recently was reported in African Caribbeans from Jamaica. These high rates contrast with the low incidence rates reported in continental (Sub-Saharan) Africa. Angwafo et al have reported higher age-adjusted incidence rates in Yaounde, Cameroon (93.8/100,000). They highlighted the importance of diagnostic methodology, availability of and access to diagnostic techniques and trained manpower, and adjustments for the age distribution of populations when comparing incidence rates between regions. The great disparity in cancer statistics over large geographic areas and races has oriented studies toward genes and gene products susceptible to environmental risk factors such as diet, ultraviolet rays, and cadmium, which may be associated with or causative of prostate cancer. Randomized studies on suspected risk factors and promoters of prostate cancer need to be conducted worldwide. However, caution is in order when inferences are made comparing populations with access to health care to those without.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / ethnology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • West Indies / ethnology