Black men with prostate cancer wait a bit longer to begin treatment following
their diagnosis than white men, a new study shows.
Researchers said racial disparities in cancer care must be eliminated so
black men receive treatment for prostate cancer sooner.
"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," study author Dr Ronald Chen, of the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a university news release.
How the study was done
In conducting the study, the researchers analysed data from a registry that
links information on cancer diagnoses with Medicare records. The study included
about 2 500 black men and more than 21 000 white men diagnosed with early
prostate cancer from 2004 to 2007. All of the men were treated within 12 months
of their diagnosis.
The researchers found, however, that, on average, black men waited seven days
longer than white men to begin treatment. Among the patients with an aggressive
form of the disease, the average number of days from diagnosis to surgery or
radiation therapy was 96 days for white men, compared to 105 days for black
The study authors also pointed out that black men are less likely than white
men to undergo prostate cancer screening and more likely to be diagnosed with an
advanced form of the disease. Black men also are less likely to receive
"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," Chen said.
The researchers said more studies are needed to determine why treatment for
prostate cancer is delayed for black men, and what can be done to eliminate this
health care disparity.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides more information on
and ethnic disparities in health care.