Monday, September 28, 2009
MONDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate cancer patients from low socioeconomic groups are more likely to die than their counterparts of high socioeconomic status, due to delayed diagnosis, poorer diagnostic methods and less invasive treatment, according to a study published online Sept. 28 in Cancer.
Elisabetta Rapiti, M.D., of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a study of 2,738 patients in Switzerland who were diagnosed with prostate cancer from 1995 through 2005, and stratified them into three socioeconomic groups based on their last known occupation. They then compared the tumor characteristics and treatment patterns of the patients.
Patients in the low socioeconomic class, who were more likely to be foreigners than those in the high socioeconomic class, were less frequently found to have screen-detected cancer, were at a more advanced stage at diagnosis, and were less likely to undergo prostatectomy, the researchers found. They were also less well-informed about disease staging and its characteristics.
"We observed strong disparities with regard to access to care and treatment of prostate cancer between socioeconomic groups in a country that has one of the best equipped health care systems in Europe and compulsory basic insurance for the entire population," the authors write. "Policies ensuring a more equitable access to screening and treatment are needed to eliminate these disparities."
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