Typically, African American men have worse outcomes from prostate cancer than their white counterparts. But according to the results of a new study in patients in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system where all patients have equal access to care, no disparities exist between the two groups—in fact, the African American men in the VA system had better outcomes than non-Hispanic whites. The findings were reported in Cancer.  

Researchers evaluated data from 60,035 African American (30.3%) and non-Hispanic white (69.7%) men in the VA health system who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer from 2000–2015. After a median follow-up of 5.8 and 5.9 years, respectively, they found that African American men did not experience diagnosis or care delays compared to white men and were no more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced or aggressive disease or to die from their cancer. Instead, 10-year survival was higher for African Americans (95.6%) compared to non-Hispanic whites (94.5%) and they were less likely to die from noncancer causes.  

“These results suggest that poorer outcomes for African American men with prostate cancer may not be a foregone conclusion,” the authors said. “With smart public policy choices, we may be able to reduce or even eliminate disparities and achieve equal outcomes for all men with prostate cancer.”