Prostate Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Racial Disparities in Prostate Cancer Deaths: Potential Contributing Factors

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

According to Xiao‐Ou Shu MD, MPH, PhD, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, and colleagues, the overall survival disparity among patients undergoing radical prostatectomy seemed to be significantly decreased for Blacks and significantly increased for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, compared with Whites. The results of this analysis, which were published in Cancer, may shed light on the potential causes of racial disparities in deaths after surgery in this patient population.

“We hope our study findings can enhance public awareness that the racial survival difference, particularly between Black and White prostate patients, can be narrowed by erasing the racial inequities in socioeconomic status and health care,” commented initial study author Wanqing Wen MD, MPH, also of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in a Wiley press release. “Effectively disseminating our findings to the public and policy makers is an important step toward this goal.”

The researchers focused on data from the National Cancer Database on 526,690 patients with prostate cancer who underwent radical prostatectomy between 2004 and 2014. Of this study population, 82.1% were White, 12.1% were Black, 1.7% were Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and 4.1% were Hispanic. Follow-up data were provided for a median of 5.5 years.

Blacks had a 51% higher mortality, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders had a 22% lower mortality, and Hispanics had a 6% lower mortality than Whites when adjustments were made for age and year of diagnosis. When all clinical and nonclinical factors were considered, the Black‐White survival disparity narrowed to 20%, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander–White survival disparity increased to 35%. Education, median household income, and insurance status seemed to have the greatest impact on racial disparity.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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