JOURNAL ARTICLE

Getting back to equal: The influence of insurance status on racial disparities in the treatment of African American men with high-risk prostate cancer

Brandon A Mahal, David R Ziehr, Ayal A Aizer, Andrew S Hyatt, Jesse D Sammon, Marianne Schmid, Toni K Choueiri, Jim C Hu, Christopher J Sweeney, Clair J Beard, Anthony V D'Amico, Neil E Martin, Christopher Lathan, Simon P Kim, Quoc-Dien Trinh, Paul L Nguyen
Urologic Oncology 2014, 32 (8): 1285-91
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OBJECTIVES: Treating high-risk prostate cancer (CaP) with definitive therapy improves survival. We evaluated whether having health insurance reduces racial disparities in the use of definitive therapy for high-risk CaP.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program was used to identify 70,006 men with localized high-risk CaP (prostate-specific antigen level > 20 ng/ml or Gleason score 8-10 or stage > cT3a) diagnosed from 2007 to 2010. We used multivariable logistic regression to analyze the 64,277 patients with complete data to determine the factors associated with receipt of definitive therapy.

RESULTS: Compared with white men, African American (AA) men were significantly less likely to receive definitive treatment (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.60; 95% CI: 0.56-0.64; P < 0.001) after adjusting for sociodemographics and known CaP prognostic factors. There was a significant interaction between race and insurance status (P interaction = 0.01) such that insurance coverage was associated with a reduction in racial disparity between AA and white patients regarding receipt of definitive therapy. Specifically, the AOR for definitive treatment for AA vs. white was 0.38 (95% CI: 0.27-0.54, P < 0.001) among uninsured men, whereas the AOR was 0.62 (95% CI: 0.57-0.66, P < 0.001) among insured men.

CONCLUSIONS: AA men with high-risk CaP were significantly less likely to receive potentially life-saving definitive treatment when compared with white men. Having health insurance was associated with a reduction in this racial treatment disparity, suggesting that expansion of health insurance coverage may help reduce racial disparities in the management of aggressive cancers.

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