Prostate cancer: Another Tuskegee experiment?


Are we headed towards a de facto Tuskegee-like experiment with prostate cancer?


By Thomas A. Farrington, PHEN President and Founder


Nationwide ( — The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in 399 black men without their knowledge or consent. Researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately, and harsh reaction to the Tuskegee experiment served as the catalyst for medical ethical standards.

Are we headed towards a de facto Tuskegee-like experiment with prostate cancer – the leading cause of cancer for men in the United States with more than 230,000 new cases and 30,000 deaths each year? African American men have the highest incidence rate, and a death rate 140% higher than all other men which is the largest racial disparity for any type of cancer.

On October 7, 2011 the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) shocked the medical community, along with prostate cancer survivors and advocates by issuing a draft recommendation against the use of the PSA test for the early detection of prostate cancer regardless of age, race, or family history.

The PSA test is the only test currently available for early detection of prostate cancer before the disease could potentially spread, become incurable and fatal. The overall prostate cancer death rate has declined by 40% during the time that the PSA test has been widely used, but implementing the USPSTF recommendation would turn the clock back twenty years to the pre-PSA test era where most men were diagnosed with advanced and incurable prostate cancer. This could be deadly and disastrous for African Americans and other men at high risk for prostate cancer…

(Read Mr. Farrington’s complete statement at

Thomas A. Farrington is the founder and president of the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) a non-profit organization with a mission to eliminate the African American prostate cancer disparity. He is an eleven year prostate cancer survivor and the author of the books “Battling The Killer Within” and “Battling The Killer Within and Winning.”