Racial Differences in the Surgical Care of Medicare Beneficiaries With Localized Prostate Cancer

  • IMPORTANCE: There is extensive evidence suggesting that black men with localized prostate cancer (PCa) have worse cancer-specific mortality compared with their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate racial disparities in the use, quality of care, and outcomes of radical prostatectomy (RP) in elderly men (≥65 years) with nonmetastatic PCa.

    DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective analysis of outcomes stratified according to race (black vs non-Hispanic white) included 2020 elderly black patients (7.6%) and 24 462 elderly non-Hispanic white patients (92.4%) with localized PCa who underwent RP within the first year of PCa diagnosis in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database between 1992 and 2009. The study was performed in 2014.

    MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Process of care (ie, time to treatment, lymph node dissection), as well as outcome measures (ie, complications, emergency department visits, readmissions, PCa-specific and all-cause mortality, costs) were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression. Multivariable conditional logistic regression and quantile regression were used to study the association of racial disparities with process of care and outcome measures.

    RESULTS: The proportion of black patients with localized prostate cancer who underwent RP within 90 days was 59.4% vs 69.5% of non-Hispanic white patients (P < .001). In quantile regression of the top 50% of patients, blacks had a 7-day treatment delay compared with non-Hispanic whites. (P < .001). Black patients were less likely to undergo lymph node dissection (odds ratio [OR], 0.76 [95% CI, 0.66-0.80]; P < .001) but had higher odds of postoperative visits to the emergency department (within 30 days: OR, 1.48 [95% CI, 1.18-1.86]); after 30 days or more (OR, 1.45 [95% CI, 1.19-1.76]) and readmissions (within 30 days: OR, 1.28 [95% CI, 1.02-1.61]); ≥30 days (OR, 1.27 [95% CI, 1.07-1.51]) compared with non-Hispanic whites. The surgical treatment of black patients was associated with a higher incremental annual cost (the top 50% of blacks spent $1185.50 (95% CI , $804.85-1 $1566.10; P < .001) more than the top 50% of non-Hispanic whites). There was no difference in PCa-specific mortality (P = .16) or all-cause mortality (P = .64) between black and non-Hispanic white men.

    CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Blacks treated with RP for localized PCa are more likely to experience adverse events and incur higher costs compared with non-Hispanic white men; however, this does not translate into a difference in PCa-specific or all-cause mortality.

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