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Higher prostate cancer death rate in Native Americans and Alaskan Natives likely due to lesser access to medical care

American Indian and Alaskan Native men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at higher PSA levels, have a greater incidence of metastasis at diagnosis, and are more like to die of prostate cancer than any other racial or ethnic groups, according to a study of nearly half a million patients, including over 1500 American Indian/Alaskan Native men.

Overall, the prostate cancer-specific mortality was highest among American Indian and Alaska Native men, 3 percent compared with 2.5 percent for Black men, 2 percent for White men and 1.6 percent for Asian and Pacific Islander men.

However, when researchers accounted for local county differences in medical care, such as provider density, hospital size, and hospital bed availability, they found that there were no differences in prostate cancer mortality between American Indian/Alaskan Native men and White men.

So, although American Indian/Alaskan Native patients are diagnosed with more advanced prostate cancer and show lower rates of definitive treatment, there were no significant differences in mortality once disparities in access to medical care were adjusted for.

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