Racial Differences in Cancer Treatment

Prostate cancer surgery racial disparity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) For historical reasons that are sometimes still valid, some people are not comfortable disclosing everything to a health professional, or even trusting them to tell them the truth.

Despite advances for most men who undergo prostate surgery for their cancer, a recent study shows that there is a clear failure to produce the same results in men who identify as gay or African-American.

"If you're uncomfortable talking to your doctor, ask around for recommendations."

African Americans are statistically more likely to develop prostate cancer, but on average are diagnosed later in life, and are less likely to trust a physician, or their treatment plan. While this may have a significant effect on the cancer outcome, it is important to assess both sides of the issue.

Additionally, gay men are less likely to trust doctors with revealing details, also leading to a later diagnosis on average.

The study examined the records of 665 men in the military. Of those men, white men were three times more likely to choose surgical removal for lower risk prostate cancer.

Another study by the research group found that out of 1,200 men who underwent the same surgery for similar prostate cancer, there were significant racial differences in urinary and sexual function after surgery.

Latin Americans and African Americans were more likely to have their sleep patterns drastically changed after the surgery, and both groups were also less likely to enter into assisted living arrangements in the case of surgical complications.

"Here, we focus attention on these poorly studied aspects to help overcome such concerns," said Edouard Trabulsi, MD, from Thomas Jefferson University's Kimmel Cancer Center.

"It's everything from discussion about sexual preference to toxicity-related effects to their ability to maintain a relationship with a partner."

The study was published in the May edition of the journal Nature Reviews Urology.

Financial disclosures were not made public.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 15, 2012
Last Updated:
July 24, 2012