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Age plays too big a role in prostate cancer treatment decisions
Date:12/21/2010

Older men with high-risk prostate cancer frequently are offered fewer and less effective choices of treatment than younger men, potentially resulting in earlier deaths, according to a new UCSF study.

The scientists found that men above age 75 with high-risk prostate cancer often are under-treated through hormone therapy or watchful waiting alone in lieu of more aggressive treatments such as surgery and radiation therapies. Instead, say the researchers, old age should not be viewed as a barrier to treatments that could lead to potential cures.

"There is a disconnect between risk and treatment decisions among older men," said senior investigator Matthew R. Cooperberg, MD, MPH. "Patient age is strongly influencing treatment decisions, so we sought to understand whether age plays a role in risk of the disease and survival. We found that under-treatment of older-men with high-risk disease might in part explain higher rates of cancer mortality in this group. There is also pervasive over-treatment of low-risk disease in this age group. Overall, treatment needs to be selected more based on disease risk and less based on chronologic age."

The study is published by the "Journal of Clinical Oncology," and is available online at http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2010/12/02/JCO.2010.30.2075.full.pdf+html?sid=fe9ef2e4-1379-4e7b-ab6c-c33796334de4

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men and the second most common cause of cancer death after lung cancer. This year, an estimated 217,730 men will be diagnosed with the disease, and 32,050 men will die from it, reports the American Cancer Society. Moreover, prostate cancer is the most common malignancy among older men: 64 percent of new cases in the United States this year were diagnosed in men older than 65, and 23 percent in men
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Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez
elizabeth.fernandez@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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