Black men in England have three times the age-adjusted incidence of diagnosed prostate cancer as compared with their White counterparts. This population-based retrospective cohort study is the first UK-based investigation of whether access to diagnostic services underlies the association between race and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer was ascertained using multiple sources including hospital records. Race and factors that may influence prostate cancer diagnosis were assessed by questionnaire and hospital records review. We found that Black men were diagnosed an average of 5.1 years younger as compared with White men (P<0.001). Men of both races were comparable in their knowledge of prostate cancer, in the delays reported before presentation, and in their experience of co-morbidity and symptoms. Black men were more likely to be referred for diagnostic investigation by a hospital department (P=0.013), although general practitioners referred the large majority of men. Prostate-specific antigen levels were comparable at diagnosis, although Black men had higher levels when compared with same-age White men (P<0.001). In conclusion, we found no evidence of Black men having poorer access to diagnostic services. Differences in the run-up to diagnosis are modest and seem insufficient to explain the higher rate of prostate cancer diagnosis in Black men.