February 10, 2006

Prostate cancer testing rates poor in at-risk blacks

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - African-American men with a
family history of prostate cancer are less likely to be
screened for the deadly disease than African-American men
without a family history, survey results suggest.

African-American men who are at risk for developing
prostate cancer "need to be informed of the benefits and
limitations of prostate cancer screening and actively involved
in decision-making concerning prostate cancer screening,"
researchers write in the journal Cancer.

Previous epidemiological studies have suggested prostate
cancer occurs at a higher rate and with greater morbidity in
African-American men than in most other racial or ethnic

Dr. Sally P. Weinrich, from the Medical College of Georgia
in Augusta, and colleagues looked at the rates of prostate
cancer screening in 134 "at-risk" black men having four or more
relatives affected by prostate cancer compared with prostate
cancer screening rates among a general population of black men
who took part in the 2000 National Health Institute Survey.

According to the team, rates of prostate cancer screening
were lower in the men at risk for the disease than in the
general population of black men. Only 35 percent of the at-risk
men underwent screening with digital rectal exam compared with
45 percent of the general population of black men.

Likewise, 45 percent of men at-risk for prostate cancer
underwent screening with the PSA blood test versus 65 percent
of the other group.

It's also concerning, according to investigators, that
older at-risk men were significantly less likely than older
subjects in the general population to undergo either PSA
screening or digital rectal examination.

The decrease in prostate screening in older men at risk for
the disease "is cause for concern," Weinrich's team observes,
"as the average age at which African-American men are diagnosed
with prostate cancer is 65."

SOURCE: Cancer February 15, 2006.