FRIDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) A study of seniors withnon-small cell lung cancer found that older patients are lesslikely to receive treatment than younger patients, regardless oftheir overall health and prognosis. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer. For this study, U.S. researchers looked at data from more than20,000 lung cancer patients aged 65 and older in the VA CentralCancer Registry between 2003 and 2008 and found that, for allstages of lung cancer, younger, sicker patients were more likely toreceive treatment than otherwise healthy older patients. That may not be best for patients, the researchers said.
Previousresearch has shown that older lung cancer patients who areotherwise healthy can benefit from treatment, while those withother illnesses are more vulnerable to the toxicity of cancertreatments. “It’s clear that, as human beings and physicians, wefixate on age in deciding whether to pursue cancer treatments,including lung cancer treatments. Instead, we should be looking atour patients’ overall state of health,” lead author Dr.Sunny Wang, a physician at the San Francisco VA Medical Center andan assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University ofCalifornia-San Francisco, said in a university news release. The study was published May 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology . Patients aged 65 to 74 who were severely ill from other illnesses and thus less likely to benefit from and more likely to beharmed by cancer treatment received treatment at about thesame rate as patients in the same age range with no otherillnesses. s.
These patients were more likely to receive treatment than patientsaged 75 to 84 who had no other illnesses and better prognoses. “The message here is, don’t base cancer treatmentstrictly on age,” Wang said. “Don’t write off anotherwise healthy 75-year-old, and don’t automatically decideto treat a really ill 65-year-old without carefully assessing therisks and benefits for that patient.” More information The American Cancer Society has more about non-small cell lung cancer . Robert Preidt SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, May1, 2012 Last Updated: May 04, 2012 Copyright 2012 HealthDay.
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