African American men suffer from prostate cancer more often than white men, yet new research shows that they respond as well — or even better — to advanced treatment methods.
Evening the Odds
African American males have long suffered from high rates of prostate cancer. They’re diagnosed with the disease much more often than their white counterparts. Making matters worse, Black American men also die from prostate cancer at about twice the rate that white Americans do. These disparities have risen to urgent calls for more research into the phenomenon, with a number of researchers delving into new clinical studies into the issue.
One such study, published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that when Black men were treated at the same level as white prostate cancer patients, survival rates were virtually identical. However, after a closer look at the results that involved taking age and prostate-specific antigen levels into account, scientists discovered that African Americans respond around 20 percent better than white men do to the same treatments. This is more than just statistically significant — such a major difference in survivability is an absolute game changer.
Benefits for All
Access to adequate health care for African American men can often be difficult. A number of socioeconomic conditions can play a role in preventing American minorities from seeking regular medical attention. This is thought to contribute to the prostate cancer fatality rate among Black men, as a lack of early detection can lead to prostate tumors growing large enough to be life-threatening before an African American man can see a doctor.
However, the renewed efforts to study how prostate cancer interacts with this part of the population, borne out of a desire to provide better care to Black Americans, has the potential to uncover treatment methods that will benefit all Americans. This new revelation that Black men respond so well to advanced prostate cancer treatment indicate that there are physiological factors at play here that could help researchers find better methods for treating prostate cancer in men of all ethnicities.
This would have been impossible without a concerted effort to provide the African American community with the access to better healthcare that it deserves. Scientists are eager to research these findings further in the hopes of discovering more ways to provide better treatment methods for men in general.