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A new study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital has shown that black men and white men have different outcomes following prostatectomy (prostate surgery). The good news is that one factor regarding prostatectomy outcomes that did not differ between blacks and whites—in-hospital mortality rates were similar.
Although this study is the first to explore racial differences following prostatectomy, previous studies have indicated disparities not only in other areas of medical treatment between white men and black men but also differences concerning prostate cancer itself. For example, it is well established that compared with white men, the risk of prostate cancer in black men is about 60 percent greater.
In addition, prostate cancer is more aggressive in black men than in white, and the death rate is also higher. Generally, it is recommended that black men be screened for prostate cancer beginning at age 40 to 45, which is 5 to 10 years earlier than what is recommended for white men.
In this new study, investigators reviewed data from 7,408 black and 51,319 white prostate cancer patients who had undergone prostatectomy. A comparison of the immediate and short-term outcomes after prostate surgery, classified by race, showed that black men experienced significantly higher rates of blood transfusions, more complications during and after surgery, and longer hospital stays than white patients.
The reasons for the differences between black men and white men regarding prostate surgery outcomes are not clear, although the study notes several possibilities, including anatomical differences in the pelvis or tumor characteristics. Lead author Quoc-Dien Trinh, MD, a Fellow at Henry Ford Hospital’s Vattikuti Urology Institute, noted that “it’s also a question of quality of care for ethnic minorities, especially in the American health care system. And that needs to be raised.”
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
Racial disparities revealed in prostate cancer surgery. Medical News Today 2012 May 17