Researchers have discovered that few patients are using androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to its fullest advantage despite how effective it is in treating many types of prostate cancer.
Androgen deprivation therapy, especially long-term ADT, has been found to be widely underused in men that are being treated with radiation therapy for high-grade prostate cancer according to a new survey of existing research recently published in the journal European Urology Oncology. The survey leveraged data collected from the SEER database, specifically examining the records of over a thousand patients that had been diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancers of Gleason score 8 and above, all of which were treated with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT).
Overall, the research found that 23.4 percent of participants, almost one in four, received no ADT, despite how effective the treatment is when combined with EBRT. 30.9 percent received ADT for just one to six months, which is an improvement but still represents missed opportunities, while patients that received seven to 23 months and 24 to 36 months of treatment made up 32.6 percent and 13.1 percent of the total respectively. Most medical experts agree that longer-term ADT of at least 24 months is the most effective.
Uncovering Racial Disparities
An alarming but perhaps not surprising discovery made by the study is that there were racial disparities associated with the likelihood of being treated with androgen deprivation therapy as well. 33.3 percent of African-American patients went without ADT altogether, which compares much less favorably to white non-Hispanic men at just 22.1 percent. This is, unfortunately, in line with one of the biggest problems facing the male African-American population in America: a much higher mortality rate due to prostate cancer when compared to white Americans.
A number of medical professionals have been suspicious for quite some time that African American men have suffered from a lack of adequate access to medical care, based in no small part by evidence uncovered by research studies such as these. Hopes are high that these findings will not just help doctors reevaluate the role that ADT needs to play in increasing survivability for men diagnosed with prostate cancer but also to provide better levels of care to members of the population that are showing increasing evidence of not receiving the same level of treatment that they need to survive.