September 24, 2014 13:16 ET

The Wait Debate: Why Prostate Cancer Should Be Treated in African American Men

David B. Samadi, MD, a Leading Robotic Prostate Surgeon, Highlights Aggressive and Accelerating Prostate Cancer Risk Among African American Men

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2014) - A new study suggests that African American men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer -- even low-risk prostate cancer -- should strongly consider aggressive and timely treatment. In comparison to Caucasian men, African American men were found to experience higher rates of disease progression and positive surgical margins during prostatectomy.

Some men who are diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer opt to postpone treatment in favor of active surveillance or watchful waiting. While for some men prostate cancer can be slow growing, that may not always be the case for African American men. David B. Samadi, MD, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, sees firsthand the benefit of aggressive treatment for prostate cancer and believes men should be carefully counseled on the risks of postponing treatment.

"Robotic prostate surgery gives us a great deal of information about a man's prostate cancer status," said Dr. Samadi. "In fact, disease progression may appear more extensive after thorough visual and laboratory analysis post-surgery than initially assessed."

African American men are 60 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men and they are twice as likely to die from the disease. New research suggests that even those diagnosed with low risk disease should take action.

Using data from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, researchers analyzed African American and Caucasian men who were diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer and subsequently underwent prostate removal surgery. Disease aggressiveness was significantly higher among African American men than Caucasian men, leading researchers to believe that prostate cancer among African Americans accelerated and spread faster. 

The rate of disease progression in African American men revealed during the prostatectomy was more than double that of Caucasian men (27.3 percent vs. 12.4 percent). Study findings are available online at .

"There's no magic window with prostate cancer. If you wait, you may miss your chance for a cure," said Dr. Samadi. "That is true for all men, though we are coming to understand that the risks associated with postponing treatment are even greater for African American men."

According to Dr. Samadi, one-on-one patient counseling remains the best approach to prostate cancer treatment decisions. A thorough understanding of individual risk factors, current disease status, and the pros and cons of each treatment modality are critical to success.

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