Longer Waits, Higher Costs: Why Are Black Men With Prostate Cancer Getting Inferior Care?

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Older black men with prostate cancer seem more likely to receive poorer quality of care that costs more compared to white men, a new study found.

Although there was no difference between the races in survival from prostate cancer, black men had to wait about seven days longer for treatment, the Harvard researchers found.

In addition, black men were less likely to have lymph nodes removed that might harbor cancer, and they were more likely to need to go to the emergency room after surgery and end up re-hospitalized. As a result, surgical treatment cost the top 50 percent of black men $1,185 more, the study findings showed.

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“These worrisome findings suggest that the quality of care received by elderly men undergoing radical prostatectomy [prostate removal] is inferior in blacks relative to whites, with higher associated costs,” said lead researcher Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh, an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston.