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Communicating effective information about prostate cancer

Communicating effective information about prostate cancer

Picture of Jay Price

Among the greatest racial disparities in U.S. public health are those in the incidence of, and mortality from, prostate cancer. And in North Carolina, where African Americans have one of the world's highest mortality rates from that disease, the gulf is particularly wide: African American men have more than 1.5 times the incidence rate for white men, and nearly three times the mortality rate.

Men of all races are confused by recent changes in recommendations for prostate cancer screening, and the mix of responses from doctors to those changes.  And the problem is worse for African American men, in part because anything that keeps them from getting the best information on prostate cancer, information tailored to them, is more likely to be fatal.

As journalists, we may not be able to get at the reasons for the higher incidence and mortality, but it’s possible that we can get at some of the truths about the role that information plays.

That's what we're going to do here at the News & Observer with a new project examining the information that African American men do and don't get on prostate cancer, and how it affects their cases.

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“Racism in medicine is a national emergency.” That’s how journalist Nicholas St. Fleur characterized the crisis facing American health care this spring, as his team at STAT embarked on “Color Code,” an eight-episode series exploring medical mistrust in communities of color across the country. In this webinar, we’ll take inspiration from their work to discuss strategies and examples for telling stories about inequities, disparities and racism in health care systems. Sign-up here!

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