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Why Black men twice as likely to die from prostate cancer

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By Gary M. Kirsh, MD 

The Urology Group 

Gary M. Kirsh, MD. Photo provided

Black men in the United States are more likely than Whites to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, more apt to have advanced disease at the time of diagnosis and more than twice as likely to die of the disease.

But a massive study from the University of Michigan says the reason isn’t that Black men intrinsically and biologically harbor more aggressive disease.

The study, published in the medical journal, JAMA Oconlogy, says that given the same access to treatment and care, Black and White men have very similar death rates. But Black men get fewer prostate cancer screenings, are more likely to be diagnosed with laterstage cancer and are less likely to have health insurance.

The study casts doubt on the belief that when it comes to African American prostate cancer, genetic factors play a larger role than health and socioeconomic disparities.

The key takeaway for African American men, according to Dr. Gary Kirsh, president of The Urology Group in Cincinnati is, “Now, more than ever, be proactive about your prostate health.”

The study was authored by Dr. Daniel Spratt and Dr. Robert Dess. It looked at data from 306,100 men — 54,840 Black men — ages 59 to 71 from the Veterans Affairs system and four other clinical trials.  

The JAMA Oncology link: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2734259

Dr. Kirsh is president of The Urology Group, headquartered in Cincinnati, with 39 physicians and offices extending from Northern Kentucky to Middletown, Ohio, and from Southeastern Indiana to Adams County, Ohio. 

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