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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Detecting Prostate Cancer in Blacks Requires Lowering Test Threshold

August 01, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Widely used standards for gauging prostate cancer blood test results probably miss 40% of tumors in black men, according to doctors who believe they have discovered a better standard for African Americans. The study in today's New England Journal of Medicine could lead to a dramatic drop in the prostate cancer death rate among black males, who are more likely to get this form of cancer, more likely to have an advanced case when the tumor is diagnosed and less likely to survive than whites.

A research team led by Dr. Ted Morgan of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. studied results from 5,258 blood tests that measured a protein called prostate-specific antigen. They concluded that the danger levels established for whites were too high for blacks, but that 95% of all prostate tumors in blacks could be detected if the levels were reduced.

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