December 16, 2008

Poor diagnosed with metastatic cancer more

Poor men are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, most likely because they don't receive screening, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles, the Jonsson Cancer Center and Dr. David Miller at the University of Michigan said the study focused on a group of disadvantaged men enrolled in the state's Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer program, known as IMPACT, which provides high-quality care to poor, under-insured and uninsured men.

The study, published in the February issue of The Journal of Urology, found that of the 570 men studied, 19 percent had metastatic cancer at diagnosis, compared with 4 percent of men from the general population who were followed in other studies.

The study also found that the diagnosis rates for lower-risk, less advanced cancers in the IMPACT patients did not increase over time, while the diagnosis rates of lower-risk, less advanced cancers did go up for men in more affluent populations.

Previous studies have shown that widespread adoption of prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer has resulted in more men being diagnosed with organ-confined, low-risk disease, the study said.

This trend has not been mirrored among the disadvantaged IMPACT patients, who don't have access to or don't take advantage of screening, the researchers said.