Prostate Cancer Danger Zone: More Likely for Older, Black Men

Jan. 28, 2014

prostate cancerWhen prostate cancer is detected through a screening test and no symptoms are present, logic would say the disease is probably insignificant and the patient can avoid aggressive treatment. Yet statistics tell a different story: 1 in 6 of these men will have higher-risk disease, according to a University of Rochester study published in Frontiers in Oncology.

Researchers from the Departments of Radiation Oncology, Urology, and Biostatistics at the Wilmot Cancer Center analyzed data for 70,345 men diagnosed with prostate cancer after a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, between 2004 and 2008. They looked at test results, tumor characteristics, and demographic data, and reported the probability of high-risk cancer in these men.

Their goal is to provide information that will help to develop more effective screening tools, since prostate cancer consists of many diverse subtypes.

Of more than 70,000 cases, 11,600 men (16.5 percent) had tumor characteristics and PSA results that suggested high-risk cancer. Men in this category tended to be older (72 as compared to 67 for the low-risk group), black, less likely to be married, and lower income.

Led by Hong Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Radiation Oncology, researchers said they believe the population-based study is the largest to focus on PSA-detected prostate cancer in the United States in an era of widespread PSA testing. In 2013 the American Society of Clinical Oncology also showcased the findings at a national Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. 

To see the full study, click here.