Active Prostate Cancer Surveillance Safe for African American Men at Low Risk

By Rob Dillard - Last Updated: December 14, 2022

Active prostate cancer surveillance appears safe among African American men, despite the population being more susceptible to more aggressive disease, according to a study published in JAMA.

In this retrospective study researchers assessed outcomes in 2,280 African American men and 6,446 non-Hispanic white men with low-risk prostate cancer who underwent active surveillance under the VA health care. The database they gleaned from includes health care records of 9 million veterans between 2000 and 2020 who received care at 1,255 health care facilities in the United States.

According to the results, 59.9% of African American men experienced disease progression compared to 48.3% of white men. Also, 54.8% of African Americans required treatment compared to 41.4% of white men. Both are statistically significant increases, the researchers noted.

“Our research provides evidence that active surveillance is safe for African American men,” said Brent Rose, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences at University of California San Diego School of Medicine via a press release. “This means more African American men can avoid definitive treatment and the associated side effects of urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and bowel problems.”


“Physicians and patients should discuss active surveillance for African American men with low-risk prostate cancer,” said Rose, a radiation oncologist at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health and senior author on the paper. “Overall outcomes are similar among African American men and white men. However, due to the increased risk of progression, African American men need to be carefully followed and promptly treated if their cancer progresses.”



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