Men treated for prostate cancer in private facilities were nearly 2.5 times more likely to undergo radiation and more than 4.5 times more likely to initially receive hormone therapy rather than surgery when compared with their counterparts in county hospitals.

As reported in Cancer (2010;116:1378-1384), 314 low-income men received prostate cancer treatment at  county hospitals and 244 from private providers.

Age and tumor characteristics were similar between the two sets of patients, but treatment decisions appeared to be significantly influenced by the type of health-care facility, with 54% of the men at the county hospitals undergoing surgery compared with 29% of the men treated by private providers.

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Type of physician may have contributed to the variation in treatment decisions: At the county hospitals, patients were initially under the care of urologists; at the private facilities, the initial providers were urologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists.