Association Between Socioeconomic Status and Tumor Grade Among Black Men with Prostate Cancer

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of the National Medical Association

Publication Date


Date Added



Background Prostate cancer affects black men disproportionately. Black men have an increased incidence of prostate cancer diagnoses at earlier ages and higher grade as indicated by Gleason score, compared to other races. This study investigates the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on prostate cancer tumor grade among black men. Methods Black men with a prostate cancer diagnosis during 1973–2011 were examined using individual-level data from the SEER NLMS database. Logistic regression model estimated the likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of high versus low grade prostate cancer based on self-reported SES status at the time of diagnosis. Results Men who completed high school only were statistically significantly more likely to have a higher prostate cancer grade than those with a bachelor's degree or higher. However, there was no dose-response effect across educational strata. Retirees were 30% less likely to have higher grade tumors compared to those who were employed. Conclusions SES differences among black men did not fully explain the high grade of prostate cancer. Further research is needed on the biology of the disease and to assess access to medical care and prostate health education, discrimination, stress exposures, and social norms that might contribute to the aggressiveness of prostate cancer among black men.






Public Health

Comments/Extra Notes

Additional authors: Johnson, Norman J.; Kamangar, Farin