Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in the United States. One in eight men will be diagnosed with this cancer in his lifetime. However, black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.1 times more likely to die from it.1
Recently, scientists have found that a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test could be more beneficial to screening for prostate cancer in black men than initially thought. A PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen, a substance made by the prostate, in the blood. A man may have prostate cancer if he has an elevated PSA score, ranging between 4-10ng/mL. 2
Starting in the 1980s, a spike in PSA testing led doctors to treat low-grade tumors the same way they treat high-grade tumors, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.3 As a result of overdiagnosis and overtreatment, in 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force removed its recommendation that men over the age of 40 with a family history of cancer, or over the age of 50, receive a PSA test every two to three years.
Black Men Need to be Screened Earlier and More Frequently for Prostate Cancer
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Evidence, Harm-to-Benefit of Three Decades of Prostate Cancer Screening in Black Men, analyzed three decades of PSA results to determine how often they led to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Reexamining the data, scientists found that the tests were more effective than previously thought and provided a greater net benefit to black men than the general population.
The study revealed that among black men the test prevented one death for every eight to 12 men diagnosed, and one death for every five to nine men treated for prostate cancer.
Black men face many risk factors for being diagnosed with prostate cancer, including a lack of access to healthcare, racial bias that can cause black men not to seek treatment, socioeconomic status, and delayed care. Yet if prostate cancer is detected at the early stages of development, the survival rate is 99%.4
The study’s conclusion is that PSA screenings are not only more effective than scientists thought for the general population but benefit black men more than other races. Due to prostate cancer’s prevalence in black men, they should be screened earlier and more frequently to monitor and mitigate their risk.
Utilizing Data to Make Better Decisions
Providing black men comprehensive prostate cancer care starts with having a complete picture of their personal health data. Each type of data is crucial and interdependent in this process. Understanding that black men are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer due to many factors will help health plans be proactive in monitoring and engaging their members.
The results looked at 30 years of PSA tests showing that health plans should look beyond simply PSA screenings for black men to prevent serious illness. Utilizing a patient’s PSA score and aggregating all other risk factors over time can help chart better care paths. The recommendation of regular testing for black men builds quality data for health plans to make more informed recommendations for early intervention.
Verinovum Offers Solutions to Provide High-Quality Clinical Data
Verinovum views clinical data quality in three buckets – only 40% of the data we ingest is generally usable. The next 40% is made actionable by rule logic and algorithms embedded in our technology, while the final 20% requires rule expansion and continuous curation to make it usable. Verinovum can help health plans unlock the potential of their data to enable early intervention for conditions like prostate cancer and ensure the best care possible for members.
We ensure that information is as complete as possible, setting you up for success. Our proprietary platform leverages case-specific data modules to aggregate, cleanse, and curate disparate clinical data from patients. We will improve and package your data quality to make it actionable in the most valuable way for your use cases. To learn more about how our solution can benefit you, visit verinovum.com/dcaas.
1 Black Men And Prostate Cancer By The Numbers Infographic (Infographic). ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. https://online.flippingbook.com/view/3392942/
2 Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. (2022, March 11). National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/psa-fact sheet#:~:text=There%20is%20no%20specific%20normal,have%20prostate%20cancer%20(1).
3Ian M. Thompson Jr., Ian M.( 2012). Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment of Prostate Cancer. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book 2012, 32, e35-e39.
4 By the Numbers: Diagnosis and Survival. Prostate Cancer Foundation. https://www.pcf.org/about-prostate-cancer/what-is-prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-survival-rates/#:~:text=The%205%2Dyear%20survival%20rate,prostate%20cancer%20is%20generally%20low.