According to a new UCSF study, men who are older are offered fewer and low-effective treatment choices than their younger counterparts. This leads to earlier deaths than if they had been given better treatments.
Scientists have discovered that 75-plus men who are suffering from prostate cancer are seldom offered sound and better treatments like surgery or radiation therapies. Instead they are given under-treatment through hormone therapy or watchful waiting.
Senior Investigator Matthew Cooperberg, MD, MPH cites that the age of the patient is playing a crucial role in the treatment of prostate cancer. He remarks that older men with high-risk disease are given under-treatment and on the other hand younger men with low-risk disease are offered over-treatment. He explains that this perhaps explains the cause behind high death rate and suggests that selection of treatment should be risk-based rather than age-based.
Prostate cancer has affected an estimated 217,730 men in 2010 alone and as per American Cancer Society, 32,050 men are likely to die from this disease. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst men and interestingly, 64% of fresh cases in US in 2010 were related to men above 65 of which 23% were above the age of 75.
The researchers studied men in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) and studied 13,805 patients. The findings revealed that older and high-risk patients had a 46% lower mortality rate if provided with aggressive treatments.
Peter Carroll of UCSF Department of Urology states that the findings support the decision that treatment should be decided based on the disease-risk and life expectancy rather than on chronological age.
Cooperberg concludes by suggesting that there needs to be a better balance between risk and benefit. Even though the risk of surgery and radiation is higher in older patients yet they must be offered a chance of aggressive therapy.