Survival rates are similar for black and white prostate cancer patients who are treated in an equal-access health system, researchers say.
In the general U.S. population, black men are more likely than white men to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, and more than twice as likely to die from the disease.
In a new study, researchers assessed whether this racial disparity was evident in the equal-access Veterans Affairs Health System.
The investigators analyzed data on more than 60,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2000 and 2015, and cared for at the VA. Of those patients, 30 percent percent were black and 70 percent were white.
Compared to white patients, black patients were no more likely to have delays in diagnosis and care, no more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease, and were no more likely to die from their disease, the findings showed.
The outcomes were similar even though black men were more likely to live in lower-income areas, according to the study published online Jan. 27 in the journal Cancer.
The authors said the results show that black prostate cancer patients who receive equal screening and treatment can expect outcomes similar to white patients, and that access to high-quality care may help reduce racial disparities.
"These results suggest that poorer outcomes for African American men with prostate cancer may not be a foregone conclusion. With smart public policy choices, we may be able to reduce or even eliminate disparities and achieve equal outcomes for all men with prostate cancer," study leader Dr. Brent Rose said in a journal news release.
Rose is an assistant professor of radiation medicine and applied medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He is also affiliated with the VA San Diego Healthcare System.
The American Cancer Society has more on prostate cancer.
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