Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men, and African-American men are at greater risk of diagnosis and death from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Raising awareness of the risk is one way to encourage screening and early detection and to potentially improve patient outcomes. Once diagnosed, understanding the treatment options available, the cure rates and potential for side effects, is an important part of the treatment decision-making process.
The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute recently held an information session and tour of the facility for the Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a black fraternity chapter in Jacksonville. Nancy Mendenhall, MD, medical director, led the tour and presented an overview of the prostate cancer treatment program. She described the new national prostate cancer clinical trial, led by the Institute, to compare conventional radiation and proton therapy. The study aims to include a diverse population, including African-Americans, to accurately document treatment outcomes.
Proton therapy’s impact on African-American prostate cancer patients has been an area of interest for the research program for many years. A study published last year by the Institute in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology1 suggests that African-American and white patients had similarly excellent results following proton therapy for prostate cancer. There was no difference detected between the two groups in their cure rates or in their sexual, urinary or bowel function following proton therapy.
1Bryant, Curtis et al. “Does Race Influence Health-Related Quality of Life and Toxicity Following Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer?” American Journal of Clinical Oncology. 39.3 (2016): 261–265. PMC. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.