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Black military veterans treated with radiation for prostate cancer in VA health system less likely to die than white veterans

Black military veterans with prostate cancer that had not spread who had equal access to radiation treatment were not more likely than whites to die from the cancer, according to a new study. In fact, their death rate was significantly lower than the white death rate.

Researchers examined the medical records of 31,131 veterans diagnosed with prostate cancer that had not spread and who were treated with radiation in the Veterans Administration health system between 2001 and 2015.

“The VA is an ideal setting in which to evaluate the impact of race because all veterans have the ability to access care within the VA health system, reducing the potential for unmeasured confounding variables, such as cost and access to care,” the researchers noted.

“Routine screening for prostate cancer can lead to early detection of the disease, thereby reducing negative outcomes,” the authors continued. “Equal-access health care environments reduce barriers to screening and diagnosis, which may be a possible explanation for our findings.”

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