(HealthDay News) — African-American (AA) patients have longer waits from diagnosis of prostate cancer to treatment, compared with Caucasian patients, according to a study published online May 28 in Cancer.

William A. Stokes, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiologic and End Results-Medicare linked database to analyze potential differences in time to treat 2,506 AA and 21,454 Caucasian patients diagnosed with localized prostate cancer between 2004 and 2007. All patients were treated within 12 months.

The researchers found that, among all risk groups, the time from diagnosis to definitive (prostatectomy and radiation) treatment was longer for AA patients. This difference was most pronounced in high-risk cancer (96 versus 105 days; P < 0.001). Racial differences persisted for “any” and “definitive” treatment in multivariate analysis (β = 7.3 and 7.6, respectively). In high-risk disease compared with low-risk disease, and in more recent years, the delay to definitive treatment was longer.

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“AA prostate cancer patients experienced longer time from diagnosis to treatment than Caucasian patients,” the authors write. “AA patients appear to experience disparities across all aspects of this disease process, and together these factors in receipt of care plausibly contribute to the observed differences in rates of recurrence and mortality among AA and Caucasian prostate cancer patients.”

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