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 September 29, 2003
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Race Impacts PSA Screening
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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study finds African-American men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer are significantly less likely than their white counterparts to undergo routine tests to measure the progression of the disease.

Prostate specific antigen screening is the gold standard test used to detest prostate cancer and to monitor the disease over time. Many urologists measure PSA in men who have been treated for their cancer every three months during the first year after treatment, every six months during the second year, and annually after that. A wide variability exists in these times among physicians, and little research exists on the effect of monitoring on progression of the disease. Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center set out to find out how often men were being monitored and whether race plays a role in the frequency of monitoring.

The study involved 658 men who were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. About 7 percent of the men were African-American, and they tended to have more advanced disease at diagnosis than the white men in the study.

The men were followed for a mean of about 6.5 years. Results showed 45 percent underwent at least one PSA test per year and 69 percent were tested at least once every two years. African-American men, however, were about half as likely as white men to receive annual exams, despite having more advanced disease at diagnosis. Older men were also less likely to be tested annually.

The researchers believe these findings may help explain why African-American men are less likely to survive prostate cancer than white men. They write, "Further research is needed to identify the reasons for the racial disparity in PSA surveillance and to design interventions to lessen these differences."

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Cancer, 2003;98:496-503

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