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Creighton Study to Look at Hereditary Prostate Cancer in African Americans

Creighton University’s Hereditary Cancer Center, has received a three-year, $731,278 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study the role heredity plays in prostate cancer among African Americans.

“Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States,. African American men have two times the occurrence of prostate cancer as do Caucasian men and suffer a significantly higher mortality as well,” said Henry Lynch, M.D., principal investigator and Creighton Hereditary Cancer Center director.

While it’s estimated that about 10 percent of all prostate cancers have a hereditary link, the problem has been understudied in African Americans. With few exceptions, relatively little is known about the role genetics play in this population, noted Lynch, holder of the Charles F. and Mary C. Heider Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

The study will focus on identifying the hereditary factors of the disease that are specific to African Americans. The goal is to develop early and intensive screening and prevention management strategies that will decrease African Americans’ incidence of as well as death rate from hereditary prostate cancer, he said.

Jackson State University in Mississippi is collaborating in the study. The goal is to involve 300 African American prostate cancer patients from the Omaha area and about 500 from Jackson, Miss., in the effort.

The research team includes members of Creighton’s Hereditary Cancer Center; Olúgbémiga Ekúndayò, M.D., associate professor of epidemiology at Jackson State University, and his staff; Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, M. D., associate vice president of Health Sciences Multicultural and Community Affairs at Creighton and co-director of the University’s Center for Promoting Health and Health Equality; and Paulos Yohannes, M. D., Creighton assistant clinical professor of surgery.

If you are an African American who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and are interested in participating in the study, contact Carrie Snyder, cancer genetics nurse specialist, at 402.280.2634 or e-mail and include “prostate cancer study” in the subject line.

To learn more about the work of Creighton’s Hereditary Cancer Center, visit

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