Major advances in radiation therapy (RT) for prostate cancer increase the importance of equity in the use of RT. We sought to assess the evolution of RT utilization disparities in prostate cancer to inform clinicians and health care organizations of persistent areas of need that can be addressed in their practices and policies.
A comprehensive PubMed literature search was undertaken in June 2020 and subsequently in March 2021. Studies were excluded that were not based in the United States, did not examine health disparities or inequities, did not examine RT or related resource utilization, or did not examine prostate cancer.
Of 257 studies found, 32 met inclusion criteria. Health disparities were most prominently reported by race, socioeconomic status, geographic location, insurance status, practice characteristics, and age. Older men were less likely to receive definitive RT or prostatectomy. Black men were less likely to receive curative therapy or dose-escalated RT. Black, Hispanic, and Asian men were less likely to receive proton therapy. Lower income was associated with decreased prostate-specific antigen testing and treatment with proton therapy or stereotactic body RT. Medicaid patients were less likely to receive definitive treatments. Rural residents were less likely to receive RT. Minority-serving hospitals were less likely to offer definitive treatments for prostate cancer.
Sociodemographic disparities and inequities in RT for prostate cancer persist. Robust efforts are imperative to eliminate disparities to improve outcomes for all patients with prostate cancer.
Advances in radiation oncology. 2022 Mar 18*** epublish ***
Ulysses Gardner, Shearwood McClelland, Curtiland Deville
Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland., Department of Radiation Oncology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.