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Prostate Cancer Treatment May Differ by Provider Type

Low-income men less likely to undergo surgery if treated by a private provider

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate cancer treatment for low-income men differs significantly between private providers and county hospitals, according to a study published online Jan. 25 in Cancer.

J. Kellogg Parsons, M.D., from the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues examined the types of treatments received by 559 men with prostate cancer who were enrolled in a state-funded program for low-income patients.

The researchers found that 56 percent of patients were treated in county hospitals and 44 percent were treated by private providers. Both groups were similar in terms of age, enrollment year, and clinical characteristics. However, patients treated by private providers were significantly more likely to be Caucasian and significantly less likely to undergo surgery. After adjusting for various factors, patients treated by private providers were more likely to receive radiotherapy (odds ratio, 2.36) and primary androgen deprivation (odds ratio, 4.71) instead of surgery.

"These data reveal substantial variations in treatment patterns between different types of health care institutions that -- given the implications for health policy and quality of care -- merit further scrutiny," Parsons and colleagues conclude.

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