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Researchers Find an Overuse of Prostate Cancer Treatment in older Men

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Treatment isn’t always needed for older male patients with prostate cancer and a short life expectancy, according to researchers at the Yale School of Medicine.

The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found in the past decade there has been a sharp increase in the use of curative treatment for prostate cancer among men with certain types of tumors and a short life expectancy. But aggressive treatment for those the with advanced cancer can do more harm than good, researchers said.

Not treating potentially fatal cancer can reflect poor-quality care, aggressively managing disease that is unlikely to progress puts patients at risk for complications and increases costs without medical benefits, said lead study author and associate professor of internal medicine at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Cary Gross.

The study involved 32,270 patients who were at least 67 years old Gross found between 1998 and 2007 the percentage of men who received treatment for their prostate cancer treatments increased over time from 61.2 percent to 67.6 percent.  The biggest increase was among men with moderate-risk prostate cancer who had the shortest life expectancy.

“Cancer treatment decreased among men with low0risk tumors and longer life expectancy,” Gross said.

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