LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The big picture when it comes to cancer in the U.S. is steadily improving. The American Cancer Society's annual report finds overall rates continue to decline with prevention in some areas and it shows great promise.
In California, however, there's a problem: One type of cancer is rising steadily.
At City of Hope, urologist Dr. Diana Londoño said she is treating more men with late stage prostate cancer. It has the largest impact among certain communities.
"We do see African American men are most effected, but also Latino men, especially in L.A., Riverside and San Bernardino counties," Londoño said.
While the American Cancer Society's annual report finds prostate cancer overall has declined more than 50% since 1991, for the past seven years, it's been increasing.
"We're seeing an increase averaging about 5% a year for men presenting with advanced disease," said the American Cancer Society's Scientific Advisor Dr. Bill Dahut. He said the data also reveals Black men are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Especially on the West Coast, that is the biggest gap seen with the advanced disease.
"California has one of the higher rates where you see deaths from prostate cancer. Black men are two to four times more likely to die of prostate cancer than white men," he said.
Experts said genetics play a role but so does access to some of newest drugs and therapeutics shown to extend lifespans.
"It is very frustrating. We have treatments available and we cannot get them to our patients because of an insurance plan. So that is a challenge," Londoño said.
In response, the ACS is launching a large initiative called IMPACT, which stands for Improving Mortality from Prostate Cancer Together. The program will include advocacy, patient support and research.
"It's going to be about getting men to the right treatment centers, getting men screening and science driven about disparities," Dahut said.
The goal is to reduce mortality among all men, but also close the cancer disparity gap by 2035.
The report also had uplifting news about cervical cancer in women ages 20-24. The rate dropped by an incredible 65% between 2012 and 2019, the ACS attributes the decline to the rollout of the HPV vaccine, which can prevent cancer.