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Fall 2013

Getting Aggressive

Date: October 1, 2013

Although prior studies of prostate cancer have found it safe to delay treatment and monitor some presumably slow-growing or low-risk cancers, such “active surveillance” does not appear to be a good idea for black men, according to a new Hopkins study.

Researchers found that African-Americans diagnosed with very low-risk prostate cancers are much more likely than white men to actually have aggressive disease that goes unrecognized with current diagnostic approaches.

“This study offers the most conclusive evidence to date that broad application of active surveillance recommendations may not be suitable for African-Americans,” says Hopkins urologist and study co-author Edward M. Schaeffer. “It turns out,” he adds, “that black men have a much higher chance of having a more aggressive tumor developing in a location that is not easily sampled by a standard prostate biopsy.” The study appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.