Study Backs Early Prostate Screening for Blacks

Study shows they are more susceptible at earlier age to disease

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MONDAY, Dec. 29, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines that say black men should be screened for prostate cancer at an earlier age than men of other races are appropriate, says a study in the December issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

The ACS guidelines, introduced in 1997, say that men in high-risk groups, such as those with a strong family history of prostate cancer or black Americans, may begin prostate cancer screening as early as age 45.

This new study compared the initial presenting serum prostate-specific antigen levels (iPSA) of 364 black men and 1,968 white men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1990 and 2001. The study compared iPSA levels before and after the new ACS guideline was introduced in 1997.

It found black men presented with about 36 percent higher iPSA levels than white men in the period before 1997. After that, black men presented with 13 percent higher iPSA levels than white men.

Between 1990 and 1996, black men were an average of 2.5 years younger than white men at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis. After 1996, that age gap increased to 3.1 years.

"The racial differences in initial PSA levels observed in the study prove that African-American men are more susceptible at an earlier age to this disease and should continue to be screened at a younger age than Caucasians, as recommended by the American Cancer Society in its screening guidelines," study author Dr. Charlie Pan, of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan, says in a prepared statement.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, news release, December 2003


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