Black Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer Lack Access to Best Treatments

By   |  December 4, 2023

By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter  |  Copyright © 2023 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

MONDAY, Dec. 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Black men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer are significantly less likely to be prescribed hormone therapy that could extend their lives, compared to other racial and ethnic groups, a new study shows.

Studies have shown that hormone therapy can effectively control the growth of prostate tumors by inhibiting the action of male hormones like testosterone or reducing their levels in the body.

These next-generation therapies target signals that male hormones send to prostate cancer cells, researchers explained in background notes.

However, Black patients had the lowest rates of receiving newer hormone therapies compared with white and Hispanic men, according to data on Medicare patients.

Data shows that Black men are 24% less likely to be prescribed novel hormone therapy compared with whites – a disparity not observed among any other group, results show.

“This revelation is particularly concerning, given the already disproportionate impact of prostate cancer on Black men, who are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease than white men in the United States,” said co-senior researcher Dr. Amar Kishan, a professor of radiation oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from a cancer registry linked to prescription drug records for more than 3,700 Medicare patients. The patients were an average age of 75 and had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer between 2011 and 2017.

Overall, 36% of the patients had been prescribed novel hormone therapy.

But Black patients had the lowest rate of novel hormone therapy at 20%, compared with 27% for whites, 25% for Hispanics and 23% for other racial and ethnic groups.

This disparity persisted at five years and beyond, with Black patients consistently receiving the hormone therapy at a lower rate than whites.

“Our findings raise critical questions regarding the reasons behind this inequality, suggesting possible obstacles to healthcare, financial burdens and unconscious biases within the healthcare system,” co-senior researcher Dr. Michael Xiang, an assistant clinical professor in radiation oncology at UCLA, said in a university news release.

More research is needed to uncover why this disparity exists and find ways to address it, the researchers said.

The new study was published Dec. 1 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, Dec. 1, 2023