Study: African American Men Get Prostate Cancer Treatment 7 Days Later Than White Men

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    When African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer the average delay between their diagnosis and treatment is a week longer than in Caucasian men as determined by a new study that was published online in “Cancer,” the journal of the American Cancer Society.

    The first of its kind, the study conducted was a population-based examination of racial differences in prostate cancer treatment delay.

    Previously, several studies conducted showed that African American men are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.

    The treatment of 2,506 African Americans and 21,454 Caucasian patients with a diagnosis of early prostate cancer from 2004-2007 was evaluated using data from Medicare patients to determine that on average African Americans experienced a seven-day longer delay in treatment once diagnosed.

    “These are all patients with some form of insurance, i.e., Medicare, so it is not a lack of insurance that delays the care,” said Ronald Chen, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor with the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill.

    Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among all men, regardless of race.

    Statistically, there are more than 240,000 diagnoses per year and more than 28,000 annually.

    “Other studies have shown that African American men are less likely to get screened, they get diagnosed with more advanced cancers, and they are less likely to get aggressive treatment when they are diagnosed. Now we have shown that African American patients also wait longer for treatment. I think all of these disparities together add up to contribute to worse long-term survival outcomes for African American patients,” said Chen.

    Although the study showed that treatment delay was more distinct in the number of patients who were diagnosed with aggressive, high-risk, prostate cancer, African American patients still experienced a 9-day longer delay than Caucasians.

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