By Culturekiosque Staff
NEW YORK, 30 MAY 2013 Among men with prostate cancer, African
Americans experience longer treatment delays after being diagnosed than
Caucasians. That is the finding of an analysis published early online in
a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study suggests
that efforts are needed to reduce racial disparities in prostate cancer
care in order to provide earlier treatment for African Americans.
To see if there is a difference in the time from cancer diagnosis to
initiation of treatment for African American men compared with Caucasian
men with prostate cancer, Ronald Chen, MD, MPH, of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his colleagues analyzed data from the
Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare registry, which
links cancer diagnosis data to a master file of Medicare records. Their
analysis included 2,506 African American and 21,454 Caucasian patients
diagnosed with early (non-metastatic) prostate cancer from 2004 to 2007
and treated within 12 months of diagnosis.
On average, the time from prostate cancer diagnosis to initiation of
treatment was seven days longer overall for African American patients
compared with Caucasian patients. In the group of patients with
aggressive, or high risk, prostate cancer, the average number of days from
diagnosis to surgery or radiation treatment was 96 days for Caucasian
patients, and 105 days for African American patients.
"This study contributes to a growing body of studies demonstrating the
disparities in care and outcomes among African American and Caucasian
prostate cancer patients in this country. African American patients are
less likely than Caucasian patients to undergo prostate cancer screening,
more likely to be diagnosed with advanced cancer, have longer delays from
diagnosis to treatment, as demonstrated by this study, and are less likely
to receive aggressive treatment," said Dr. Chen. "All of these factors
together can contribute to an increased rate of dying from prostate cancer
in African American compared to Caucasian prostate cancer patients."
Dr. Chen added that additional studies are needed to assess what
personal or institutional factors may delay treatment for African American
patients and to determine if any interventions can help eliminate this
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