Recent studies have shown that Black men are less likely to be diagnosed and also less likely to receive aggressive treatment for prostate cancer. This phenomenon, along with other contributors, has led to a disproportionate amount of Black men dying from prostate cancer. Overall, the studies connected the results to generally lower amounts of interaction with healthcare professionals and dismissive attitudes from physicians about the health concerns of their Black male patients. How do patients feel empowered when the system seems to be against them? While a complete reimagination of the healthcare industry needs to be evaluated, there are some steps that Black male patients can take to protect their health and take ownership of their treatment plan and prevent prostate cancer inequity.
Ways you can fight prostate cancer inequity:
Find a doctor that listens when you talk
Finding the right doctor is a stressful and laborious process. Because of this, patients may find themselves with healthcare professionals that do their job, but not to their greatest potential. It’s important to find a doctor that is truly interested in your health and intently listens when you are talking.
An effective healthcare professional will ask follow-up questions and explore the entire context of patient concerns in order to provide a holistic care plan.
It’s essential to find a healthcare professional that you feel comfortable with and that takes an active part in your health.
This process of trial and error may take a while, but finding an excellent care team is essential to effective treatment and better health.
Doing your own research
Your health is owned by you. While doctors, nurses, therapists, and your loved ones might have their own opinions and recommendations; the choice is yours. The first step in advocating for yourself is information. Begin the conversation by doing some of your own research.
Join support groups or Facebook groups for those with prostate cancer and see where the conversations are trending. Ask people about their experiences and what went well for them.
If you find anyone in your area, ask what doctors they see and their level of care.
Advocate for yourself
The power dynamic in the physician’s office can make you feel like you are not