DETROIT Black prostate cancer patients may not be getting the same quality of care as white patients, according to a first-of-its-kind study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital who found racial disparities in the results of surgery to remove diseased prostates.
While it is possible that anatomical differences or tumor characteristics may explain why the results of radical prostatectomy are not as good for African Americans as for white patients undergoing the same procedure, the study concluded that "surgeons, administrators and policymakers need to implement measures to address these disparities."
The new research findings, based on population samples from throughout the U.S., will be presented this week at the American Urological Association's Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
Quoc-Dien Trinh, M.D., a Fellow at Henry Ford Hospital's Vattikuti Urology Institute and lead author of the study, says that while no one before has reported racial disparities in the results of cancer surgery, earlier studies have found similar differences in other areas of medical treatment and care.
"Again, research raises a serious issue in the difference between Caucasian and African American patients, and we're trying to understand why it is happening," Dr. Trinh says.
"Is it a biological issue? African American patients might present with worse disease, therefore surgery and treatment are more difficult. For some cancers, like pancreatic, if you have worse disease, the surgery is harder. But that's doubtful with prostate cancer. It shouldn't be the case."
Dr. Trinh also notes that it is possible that African American patients have an anatomical difference the form of their pelvis that makes their surgeries harder, and there are studies to support that. "It's not controversial, just related to bone structure. And it might, big question mark, might make surgery harder," he says.
"But if it's not anatomy or a disease agg
|Contact: Krista Hopson|
Henry Ford Health System