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Socioeconomic Status Affects Prostate Cancer Treatment

Men living in deprived areas significantly less likely to receive radical surgery or radiotherapy

FRIDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- In men with prostate cancer, lower socioeconomic status is associated with a significantly lower likelihood of undergoing radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy, according to a study published April 22 in BMJ.

Georgios Lyratzopoulos, of the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied data on 35,171 men aged 51 and older who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1995 and 2006. More detailed information about disease stage was available for 15,916 men from 1998 to 2006.

The researchers found that the proportion of patients receiving radical prostatectomy increased from 2.9 percent during 1995 to 1997 to 8.4 percent during 2004 to 2006, while the proportion of those receiving radiotherapy stayed at about 25 percent. They found that patients with the highest socioeconomic status were more likely to receive surgery or radiotherapy (8.4 and 28.5 percent, respectively) than those with the lowest socioeconomic status (4 and 21 percent, respectively). Multivariable analysis showed that increasing deprivation remained strongly associated with lower odds of radiotherapy or surgery (odds ratios, 0.92 and 0.91, respectively, per incremental deprivation group).

"The most deprived men could be having too few radical prostatectomies and radiation treatments or the most affluent could be having too many," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "Because the reasons for these socioeconomic disparities are unclear and the best way to reduce them is unknown, future studies should investigate the contribution of various prognostic factors to differences in survival. It would also be useful to evaluate such differences within the treatment arms of randomized trials."

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