Objectives: To examine the racial differences in testicular cancer incidence, pathologic grade, stage, and survival with specific reference to Asian and white Americans and to evaluate the impact of disparities in stage at presentation, if present, on survival.
Methods: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, we extracted all testicular cancer cases among white and Asian-American males for the years 1973 to 2000. Baseline demographic data included age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, stage at diagnosis, and histologic features. Survival was examined using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards modeling.
Results: The incidence of testicular cancer is lower among Asian Americans than among whites. However, Asian-American males presented with higher stage disease at diagnosis. Significant differences were noted in the histologic features between the two groups, with Asian Americans presenting with greater rates of seminoma. Asians also demonstrated survival differences, with poorer unadjusted survival compared with whites. However, when the variables of stage at diagnosis and histologic features were included in the analysis, the survival curves became similar.
Conclusions: Asians appeared to present with higher stage disease than do whites. Observed differences in survival for the Asian group relative to whites appeared to be primarily a result of delayed presentation. Cultural perceptions of malignancy and the understanding of cancer screening may be important determinants of later presentation. Healthcare access and education issues, rather than inherent biologic differences, are more likely the primary underlying factors for the observed survival differences in Asian males.