Couldn't find what you looking for?

TRY OUR SEARCH!

Many men are deciding to forgo prostate cancer treatment nowadays, especially if they are in the old age group. This is because in elderly people, the side effects of treatment may overweight its benefits.

In elderly people, the side effects of treatment may overweight its benefits

New researches have proved that this decision may be safe, even in old men who have a more risky type of prostate cancer. Men with a localized form of cancer were more likely to die of other causes unrelated to their cancer, rather than dying of prostate cancer. This is because prostate cancer is a tumor which grows very slowly and may take many years to reach a stage where it can be dangerous to a man’s life. Such a stage may never be reached in old people diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Newer tests, like PSA screening, detect even the most benign forms of prostate tumors. Most of these tumors may never endanger a person’s life. The side effects of prostate cancer are often overwhelming. They compromise the quality of the patient’s life and make him sicker. Surgery to remove prostate cancer can result in long term urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Radiation therapy also has deleterious effects which may last for a long time. They include impotence, urinary incontinence, bladder urgency, blood in urine, injury or burning sensation of the rectum, skin reactions, loss of appetite and general malaise. Hence, in the elderly people the side effects of treatment may overweight its benefits and treating the cancer may do more harm than good.

Various treatment options available for Prostate cancer

Prostate gland is a tiny, walnut sized gland found around the urethra in men and forms a part of their reproductive system. Prostate cancer is a cancer of this gland. It is the second leading cause of mortality from cancer in men; and in elderly men above the age of 75, it is the second most common cause of death. Serum PSA test is the most sensitive test used to diagnose prostate cancer and it can pick up the cancer even before the appearance of the symptoms of the disease. The commonly found symptoms in a man suffering from prostate cancer include a delayed start of the urinary stream, dribbling after passing urine due to incomplete emptying, inconsistent stream and presence of blood in the urine or semen. When the cancer has spread beyond the gland to the pelvic bones, the patient may experience bone pain.

The various treatment options available for prostate cancer include surgery and radiation therapy in the early stage. Radiation therapy can also be used to kill prostate cancer cells after surgery, if there is any doubt that some have been left behind. When the cancer has spread beyond the prostate and has metastasized to distant body parts, then the treatment options available for prostate cancer include hormonal therapy to reduce the amount of testosterone in circulation, orchidectomy to remove the testes or chemotherapy to act against the cancer cells.

  • Peter C. Albertsen, Dirk F. Moore, Weichung Shih, Yong Lin, Hui Li, Grace L. Lu-Yao. January 10, 2011. Impact of Comorbidity on Survival Among Men With Localized Prostate Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology
  • Scott Miller, MD, David Zieve, MD, MHA. Prostate cancer. September 23, 2010. PubMed health
  • Photo courtesy of Ernst Vikne by Flickr : www.flickr.com/photos/iboy/365432689/