UCLA has researched one of those worrying areas in life, for men at least. Over 75 years old, they reckon, and you may have your prostate cancer neglected by doctors. For over 1000 Veterans from Los Angeles and Long Beach Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, between 1997 and 2004, treatment and survival were recorded over a ten-year period.
The researchers studied men with only one different comorbid disease alongside those with no other condition. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) provided the worst scenario, with 65% dying within ten years. Those with no comorbid disease obviously survived at the best rate (16%). This indicates survival rates but the study also concentrated on how the Veterans were treated.
Most important of all of the findings is probably the fact that only 25% of 75 year olds were treated for their cancer. Only 58% of them survived ten years, so it seems that there could be important links with that lack of treatment.
Dr. Karim Chamie stated that physicians may think men with only one comorbid condition is healthier than they may in fact be.
Dr. Mark S. Litwin said, "There are some medical conditions that portend a poor prognosis and should therefore be taken into consideration in the decision-making process". Certain comorbidities were not being given enough consideration when the cancer decision making was being undertaken. The field is now open for more research on how to persuade medical professionals to change their positions. Financial factors were not involved in this study as the Vets. have a Federal subsidy for medical care, leaving, "no financial incentive for treatment to be given".
Meanwhile the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in UCLA is busy pushing back the frontiers of early diagnosis.
Aggressive prostate cancer kills men particularly by spreading to other organ. If we find the prostate cancer earlier, that spread is minimised. New imaging techniques have now enabled researchers to predict major gene-based breakthroughs in treating the worst male cancers.
Top Image Credit: © Ivelin Radkov