African-American Men Less Likely to Receive BPH Treatment

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—African American men are less likely to receive treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) compared with other races, a study found.

William Tu, MD, of Stanford University, and colleagues studied 53,172 men with a mean age of 67 years. The group was 35% white, 9.3% African American, 18.1% Hispanic, 23% Asian, and 4.3% other races. Medications were prescribed to only 45% of all patients, with 98.1% of treated patients receiving alpha blockers and 9.6% receiving 5- alpha-reductase inhibitors.

After controlling for age at diagnosis, African American men were significantly less likely to be treated in the first year of diagnosis than patients of other races (28.6% vs. 44% for whites, 43.5% for Hispanics, 53.5% for Asians, and 50% for other races).

African Americans also were less likely to have surgery than other racial groups. Approximately 3.5% of African Americans underwent surgery compared with 5.8% of whites, 5% of Asians, 8.8% of Hispanics, and 6.1% of other races.

The finding may reflect differences in cultures and expectations within the difference racial groups, according to researchers.

Dr. Tu's group analyzed analyzed data from the California Medi-Cal database from 2000 to 2005 for men who had been enrolled in Medicaid for at least one year prior to a new diagnosis of BPH.

The authors concluded that racial disparities exist in the treatment of BPH despite supposed equal access to care.

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