December 26, 2008

Black gay, bisexual men get less PSA tests

Gay and bisexual black men are less likely to be tested for prostate cancer than men of any other racial and ethnic backgrounds, U.S. researchers said.

Kevin C. Heslin of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles examined prostate and colorectal testing rates based on sexual orientation, race and ethnicity.

Using data from telephone interviews with 19,410 men who participated in the California Health Interview Survey, Heslin found no overall difference in the use of the prostate-specific antigen test among gay, bisexual and heterosexual men.

However, the percentage of gay and bisexual black men who received the PSA test was 12 percent to 14 percent lower than heterosexual blacks and 15 percent to 28 percent lower than gay and bisexual whites.

Gay and bisexual black men had the lowest use of the PSA test, compared with every other group of men in the study, Heslin said in a statement. For blacks, being a member of both racial and sexual minority groups represents a kind of double jeopardy when it comes to getting PSA testing.

The findings, published in Medical Care, are significant because African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed late with prostate cancer and, as a result, are more likely to die from the disease than any other racial or ethnic group, Heslin said.