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Kidney Removal May Be Ill-Advised for Some Elderly

With localized cancer, more conservative treatment may be warranted, study finds

MONDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Removing a kidney does not seem to extend the life of elderly people with kidney cancer that has not spread, a new study finds.

Instead, it suggests, people with such cancer should undergo more conservative treatments that preserve the non-cancerous parts of their kidneys.

Kidney cancer cases have increased over the past 10 years, especially among older people, and doctors are trying to figure out the best way to treat what they call localized cancer in this age group.

In the new study, Dr. Steve Campbell of the Cleveland Clinic and his colleagues examined the medical records of 537 people who were at least 75 years old and had localized kidney tumors.

About 20 percent of them were simply observed, 53 percent had surgery that spared their kidney and 27 percent had their kidney removed. In the next four years, 28 percent of the overall group died, but just 4 percent of the deaths were attributable to progression of their cancer.

The type of treatment did not affect the risk for dying, the researchers found. Rather, additional medical problems were found to have raised that risk. And, people who had a kidney removed had increased problems with their remaining kidney, the study found.

The findings were published online May 10 in Cancer.

More information

For more about kidney cancer, visit the American Urological Association.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, May 10, 2010

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