Prostate Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates among White and Black Men

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Abstract

This paper presents prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates in the United States by factors associated with the disease at diagnosis and explores racial differences in these rates. The analysis is based on population-based cancer data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute. Incidence rates increased sharply from 1973 to 1992 (more so among whites), with the increase attributed to screening and preferential finding of low-risk, slow-growing tumors (that is, length bias). Mortality rates increased slightly (more so among blacks). The 1988–1992 white and black prostate cancer mortality rates comprise cases diagnosed as early as 1973. These rates remained fairly constant for each stage category at diagnosis, except for black men diagnosed with localized or unstaged disease, in whom the rates increased. Of the white prostate cancer cases, 33% are diagnosed with localized disease, 16% are diagnosed with regional disease, and 38% are diagnosed with distant disease. The corresponding percentages for black patients are 31, 12, and 45%. Prostate cancer mortality rates for blacks diagnosed with localized, regional, distant, and unstaged disease are 1.9, 1.5, 2.4, and 2.0 times those of whites. The time from diagnosis to death depends on the stage and age at diagnosis, with the time somewhat longer for whites than blacks. This longer time period is due, in part, to better staging and length bias. The effect of therapy on prostate cancer mortality rates is unclear.

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