Black men wait longer to get prostate cancer care
If you’re an African American man diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s likely you’ll be waiting longer than your Caucasian counterpart, to begin treatment, according to a recent study.
Scrutinizing Medicare data from about 2,500 black males and 21,400 white men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2007, researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC), found that black men had to wait about seven days longer before starting treatment than whites. Those black patients who were diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer had an even longer gap, averaging nine days longer than white patients.
The report was published in the March 28 online edition of the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) journal Cancer.
“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 study leader Ronald Chen, MD, in a statement.
The researchers pointed out that earlier studies have shown a disparity in rates of survival between blacks and whites with prostate cancer. African American men are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease than white men, they said.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, more than 206,000 men are diagnosed and nearly 30,000 will die from the disease.
But early detection and treatment has helped nearly 98 percent of men to survive 10 years after diagnosis, according to the ACS.
The research did not explain how the delays could affect survival rates and said further study needs to be done focusing on personal and institutional reasons for the gap.
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