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Study calls for increased awareness for minorities and gay men following prostate cancer treatment

A better awareness of ethnic and sexual preference-related factors is needed to improve quality of life for gay men and minorities treated for prostate cancer, according to a review published in an upcoming Nature Reviews Urology.

Researchers from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia analyzed several studies that showed differences in treatment outcomes, sexual function and coping among subpopulations including African Americans, Latin Americans, Asians and men who have sex with men (MSM). According to a release, findings showed:

  • African Americans are less likely to initiate and complete treatment and less likely to trust a physician.
  • Latin American men who underwent radiation therapy or a radical prostatectomy demonstrated greater levels of severe sleep dysfunction.
  • Gay men are often diagnosed with prostate cancer later in life and may be reluctant to reveal their sexual preference.

Co-author Edouard J. Trabulsi, MD, commented in the release on the significance of the findings in improving the quality of life in gay men and minorities treated for prostate cancer.

Different communities of men view the effects of prostate cancer treatments very differently ... It's in the patient's best interest for caregivers to acknowledge perceptions and expectations during the treatment decision process. They should take specific demographics, socioeconomic status, and sexual preference into consideration, and tailor an approach based on a patient's specific concerns about the implications of various treatments.

Researchers noted that one reason for poorer quality of life among these subpopulations may also be attributed to a lack of social support group. For example, gay men typically don't have long-term partners and may not have the same level of support at home. As a result they seek out support from other sources, but with the limited number of support groups specifically tailored for MSM with prostate cancer is limited this community may rely on Internet-based groups and could have an increased risk of becoming socially isolated.

Previously: New study advocates exercise to improve prostate cancer outcomes

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