(HealthDay News) — During the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the likelihood of undergoing surgery for prostate cancer was lower for Black than White patients, according to a study published online July 22 in JAMA Oncology.

Adrien N. Bernstein, M.D., from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the association between race and prostate cancer care delivery during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prostatectomy rates were compared for Black and White men with untreated nonmetastatic prostate cancer using data from 269 patients receiving care during the COVID-19 pandemic and 378 patients treated prior to the pandemic.

The researchers found that during the pandemic, Black men were significantly less likely to undergo prostatectomy compared with White patients (1.3 versus 25.9 percent; P < 0.001), despite similar COVID-19 risk factors, biopsy Gleason grade groups, and comparable prostatectomy rates before the pandemic (17.7 versus 19.1 percent; P = 0.75). Higher median prostate-specific antigen levels prior to biopsy were seen among Black men (8.8 versus 7.2 ng/mL). During the pandemic versus prior to the pandemic, the odds ratio for likelihood of surgery was 0.06 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.01 to 0.35; P = 0.002) for Black patients and 1.41 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.81 to 2.44; P = 0.23) for White patients.


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“The lessons from this study should help us to recognize and offset the implications of our pandemic-related decisions by prioritizing care in underserved communities lest we reverse decades of effort that worked to narrow racial/ethnic gaps in care,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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