A qualitative approach to understanding the drivers of unequal receipt of definitive therapy for Black men with prostate cancer in Massachusetts.

Despite mandated insurance coverage since 2006 and robust health infrastructure in urban settings with high concentrations of minority patients, race-based disparities in prostate cancer (PCa) treatment persist in Massachusetts. In this qualitative study, the authors sought to identify factors driving inequities in PCa treatment in Massachusetts.

Four hospitals offering PCa treatment in Massachusetts were selected using a case-mix approach. Purposive sampling was used to conduct semistructured interviews with hospital stakeholders. Additional interviews were conducted with representatives from grassroots organizations providing PCa education. Two study staff coded the interviews to identify major themes and recurrent patterns.

Of the 35 informants invited, 25 participated in the study. Although national disparities in PCa outcomes were readily discussed, one half of the informants were unaware that PCa disparities existed in Massachusetts. Informants and grassroots organization representatives acknowledged that patients with PCa are willing to face transportation barriers to receive treatment from trusted and accommodating institutions. Except for chief equity officers, most health care providers lacked knowledge on accessing or using metrics regarding racial disparities in cancer outcomes. Although community outreach was recognized as a potential strategy to reduce treatment disparities and engender trust, informants were often unable to provide a clear implementation plan.

This statewide qualitative study builds on existing quantitative data on the nature and extent of disparities. It highlights knowledge gaps in recognizing and addressing racial disparities in PCa treatment in Massachusetts. Improved provider awareness, the use of disparity metrics, and strategic community engagement may ensure equitable access to PCa treatment.

Despite mandated insurance and urban health care access, racial disparities in prostate cancer treatment persist in Massachusetts. This qualitative study revealed that, although national disparities were acknowledged, awareness about local disparities are lacking. Stakeholders highlighted the importance of ancillary services, including translators, rideshares, and navigators, in the delivery of care. In addition, whereas hospital stakeholders were aware of collected equity outcomes, they were unsure whether and who is monitoring equity metrics. Furthermore, stakeholders agreed that community outreach showed promise in ensuring equitable access to prostate cancer treatment. Nevertheless, most interviewed stakeholders lacked clear implementation plans.

Cancer. 2024 Jun 04 [Epub ahead of print]

Muhieddine Labban, Benjamin V Stone, Grant L Steele, Kevin E Salinas, Emeka Agudile, Mark H Katz, Nancy Rihan-Porter, Amanda J Reich, Alexander P Cole, Stewart Landers, Quoc-Dien Trinh

Department of Urology and Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA., Department of Internal Medicine, Carney Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA., Department of Urology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA., Cambridge Health Alliance and Cambridge Public Health Department, Equity, Resilience, and Preparedness, Boston, Massachusetts, USA., Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA., Division of Health Services, John Snow Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, USA.