Black Men Less Likely To Be Screened for Prostate Cancer Despite Increased Risk, Study Finds
Despite an increased risk for prostate cancer, many black men are still not obtaining a prostate-specific antigen test, according to a study published in the September issue of Cancer, Reuters reports. Generally, men are advised to begin discussing PSA screening with their doctors at age 50. The American Cancer Society recommends that black men should be screened at age 45 or younger if there is a strong family history of prostate cancer.
For the study, Judd Moul of Duke University and colleagues examined data from 2002 of 58,511 men ages 40 and older. They found that 22.5% of men ages 40 to 49 and 53.7% of older men reported undergoing a PSA test in the last year.
According to the study, 33.6% of black men had taken a PSA test and black men younger than age 50 were 2.4 times more likely than white men in the same age group to undergo a PSA test. However, the overall percentage of black men who have had a PSA test is low considering the group's risk for prostate cancer, the researchers said.
Moul said, "Our findings for black men are discouraging," adding, "We've been encouraging black men to get screened at age 40 or 55 for more than a decade, yet only one-third of these high-risk men reported being tested."
Certain factors -- such as having health insurance, an ongoing relationship with a physician and an annual household income of at least $35,000, influenced whether younger men received the PSA screening -- the study found (Reuters, 8/11).
The researchers wrote, "Our study is the first to specifically examine PSA screening in younger men, which provides an important assessment of quality of care, especially for high-risk groups. Further investigation will be required to understand the impact of new risk-stratification strategies, with particular focus on the policy implications of potentially large increases in health care resource use" (McKeever, Health Day/U.S. News & World Report, 8/11).
An abstract of the study is available online.