Dr. Fowke on Overcoming Racial Disparity in Prostate Cancer

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Jay H. Fowke, PhD, MPH, MS, chief, Division of Epidemiology, professor of preventive medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, discusses ways to overcome racial disparity in prostate cancer.

Jay H. Fowke, PhD, MPH, MS, chief, Division of Epidemiology, professor of preventive medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, discusses ways to overcome racial disparity in prostate cancer.

Data presented at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting suggested that African American patients have a higher rate of mortality from prostate cancer compared with Caucasian patients. Fowke says these higher rates are probably largely due to disparity in the access to treatment. The only way to address the issue, is to change the way the healthcare system works in terms of insurance coverage, he adds.

While treatment access correlates with disparity in mortality, it does not affect prostate cancer risk. Researchers need to better understand the biology of prostate cancer—specifically differences in genomics between African American and Caucasian patients—but this is going to take time. In the long run, this will be beneficial to all patients and help to create a more personalized treatment approach, Fowke concludes.

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