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Black prostate patients fare worse

White men live longer than black men after receiving treatment for localized prostate cancer, a new study finds.

Black men do not survive as long as white men after treatment for localized prostate cancer, according to a new study.

RESEARCHERS AT THE University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed the records of 5,747 black men and 38,242 white men who had been treated for prostate cancer that had not spread. They found that the median survival time for black men was 1.7 years less than the survival time for white men.

The difference was even greater, 1.8 years, for patients who received surgery. Black prostate surgery patients lived an average of 10.8 years, while white patients lived 12.6 years.

For patients of either race who received radiation treatment, however, the differences in median survival was not significant, the researchers report.

Specialized radiation therapy is the preferred treatment for locally advanced prostate cancer, but black patients may have less access to this therapy, the researchers said. There may also be biologic factors that affect the way black men and white men react to prostate cancer treatment, the study suggested.

“Researchers should continue to investigate racial disparities in treatment outcomes as well as the specific social, biologic or environmental conditions that may be responsible for these disparities,” the researchers conclude in the study.

Dr. Paul A. Godley of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina was head of a team that conducted the research.

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