Why More Blacks Die of Prostate Cancer?

Black, white men view impacts of prostate cancer treatment differently, study finds

Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, is an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology and study’s senior author.(UNSW)

In a telephonic survey of 1,171 prostrate cancer patients, researchers were surprised to note that Black men were more concerned about the impact and cost compared to white men, thus resulting in more Blacks die of prostate cancer than the whites.

The survey results, presented on Monday, June 5, 2017 at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, showed the clues to why some black men are less likely to receive aggressive treatment and fall victims.

Ronald C. Chen, associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology and study’s senior author, revealed that more black men were concerned about the impact of the treatment on their daily chores, the cost and the time.
“These important factors in treatment decision-making likely play a role in racial disparities in treatment selection and outcomes in prostate cancer,” he said.

For the first time, the study focused on racial difference for treatment than mere biological factors. Researchers found that 94 percent of white men and 96 percent of black men considered “cure” to be a “very” important treatment factor — 83 percent of white men and 88 percent of black men considered preserving quality of life to be very important.

However, from race perspective, they found that 74 percent of black men considered the impact on their daily activities to be very important, while only 58 percent of white men rated this factor as very important.

In terms of recovery time, 81 percent of black men were significantly more concernedabout it compared to 50 percent of white men. Sixty-six percent of black men considered cost as prime factor compared to 32 percent of white men.

Prostate cancer treatment includes either surgery or different types of radiation therapy. However, “active surveillance” is appropriate for patients with an early, low-risk diagnosis, but is not appropriate when the cancer is more aggressive, or intermediate or high risk. Surgery and radiation are equally effective, but are different in terms of impact on quality of life, treatment and recovery time, and cost, he said.

“Racial disparities in prostate cancer persist despite numerous interventions,” said Brittaney-Belle Gordon, a student researcher and the study’s first author. Other authors included Ramsankar Basak, Deborah S Usinger and Paul Alphonso Godley.

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