Report: Black and white Veterans with prostate cancer report similar outcomes


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A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense found similar survival rates among black and white patients with prostate cancer receiving care at VA.

The researchers, from the VA San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California at San Diego, say the results of the study suggests that having access to high-quality medical care is a major factor in racial equity among men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The research found black Veterans in VA care had a small but statistically significant decrease in the rate of death from prostate cancer compared with white VA patients. In contrast, African American men in the general population are more than twice as likely as white men to die from prostate cancer, although the reasons are complex. Past studies have found, however, that equal access to care can help reduce the survival gap. For example, fewer racial disparities are seen among cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials or those receiving care through VA, military health, Medicare or Medicaid.

Additionally, in the new study, black Veterans in VA care were no more likely to experience delays in diagnosis and care, or to present with more advanced disease.

The study included more than 60,000 men who received VA care for prostate cancer between 2000 and 2015, of which about a third were African American.

According to the study, the results add to a growing body of literature supporting the importance of access to high-quality medical care in reducing or eliminating racial disparities.

U.S. Data

Prostate cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer in the United States. One out of every nine men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and to help determine if you should be screened, visit https://www.cancer.va.gov/CANCER/pcf.asp.


Mark Ledesma, a Marine Corps Veteran and public affairs specialist for VHA Office of Communications, contributed to this report.

Author

Mitch Mirkin

Mitch Mirkin is the senior writer and editor for VA’s Office of Research and Development. He joined VA in 2000 and previously worked as publications manager for a large geriatric center and as managing editor of a community newspaper. Mitch holds a master’s in mass media arts and journalism from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Comments

  1. JoeMusumeci    

    This is quite different from a lot of what I’ve read about the disparity in survival rates between black and white men. My questions are: how do the survival rates in this study compare with the survival rates for men with prostate cancer during the same time period who were treated at non VA facilities? Did the survival rate for black men in the VA study do down compared to non VA treated black men or did the survival rate for white men in the VA study go up compared to non VA treated white men?

  2. Hudson Avery Jr    

    I find that the VA does not look into the black persons medical treatment with the same vigor as they do the white male and I believe that they are lackadaisical with all vets. I suffer from PTSD from being in a flight training ops with no training in that field. Placed there and scared every day I went to work yet Ben more scared that if I didn’t do what I was told I would be kicked out the military. I have anxiety that is not a mental illness it is a condition created by the military that they refuse to acknowledge. When I first got out after doing four year as a E-4 with three years 364 days of active service and a honorable discharge they VA told me I could be seen by the VA facilities so for years all my medical care had to be by private doctors. My body aches all the time

  3. Bruce A Evans    

    I had been getting the PSA test faithfully every year through the VA from the time I retired in 1998. Over the years my PSA started to increase but I was not informed. I had been feeling like something was going on but I was always given medication for an enlarged prostate. Then one day in 2018 I was told by my VA doctor that my PSA was high I should get a biopsy. I waited and waited for the VA to get back with me with no luck. I was at my my primary care doctor outside the VA & I let her know what was going on she got me in to see a Urologist on the local military installation . After test were run & a biopsy, I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer. Devastated, I became angry because I had followed instructions and this is what happened. 39 doses of radiation & hormone shots my PSA is down now. Use medical facilities outside the VA.

  4. Roger Borroel    

    I’m glad that Hispanics don’t have that type of cancer as the whites and black vet so.

  5. LC Tate    

    Why question is why wouldn’t the results be similar?? First of all they both are human and male. This Black and White thing has to stop. God created males and females. We are all the same. Just as created male and female in all his species around the globe. This Ignorance has to stop. White males wasn’t born with 3 feet they have 2 just like everyone else around this globe. Difference??. None. The only difference in humans are their DNA, otherwise we are the same. This is the plague that’s destroying life upon this planet today. No human is greater than the other just because of skin tone or tongue spoken. Everyone are faced with the same sickness and illnesses. We all faces the same trials and sacrifices in this life. This life we all have been blessed to have will also end at the end of the day. Male and Female please.

  6. Michael Davis    

    Hmmm, VA Doctor at annual said my PSA was very high again. No follow up, went to see a private urologist, through his help with a MRI for accurate biopsy plugs of prostrate, low and behold Gleason scores of 8’s. My oncologist was a private doctor also! 42 radiation treatments plus shots for hormone and bones. Physical, shots, prescriptions, glasses, hearing aids VA provided. Now neurologist says after testing I have no neuropathy or diabetes, I need a carpel tunnel on my wrists, hmmmm that was accomplished several years ago by a private doctor, makes me doubt the validity of VA testing! All required surgeries are by private doctors!!!

  7. James L Pyatt    

    I was going to VA hospital to get a big mole I had on my back checked. All they would do is say it was a blister and in two or three months it would be gone.
    Months went by and then they said they would make an appointment for me with a dermatologist. Another month went by my appointment came and while I was driving to my appointment they called me and said it was canceled. I would have toake another appointment. I called and they gave me an appointment three more months later May 28 2020.
    I made a trip to Philippines and desided to have it checked here. Same day was checked and they took a biopsy and lazer removed the mole. Biopsy came back I have Melenoma cancer there. Now I have to wait to get back to have this treated. If they would have checked it when it was smaller. Probably it would be okay by now. Now because of the long wait I could be in a bad situation.

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