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Prostate Cancer Update

July 8, 2009

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have found that older men, who are otherwise healthy, benefit from aggressive treatment for unfavorable-risk prostate cancer, a finding that draws contrasts with a recent US Preventive Task Force recommendation stating that older men should not be screened for prostate cancer. These findings are published online and in an upcoming print issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology Physics.?"When the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended against PSA screening for any man over 75 years old, it gave some people the impression that it isn’t worthwhile to either find or treat prostate cancer in older men. However, our study found that if an older man is diagnosed with unfavorable-risk prostate cancer, aggressive treatment can improve his chances of surviving, just as it does for younger men, provided that he is otherwise relatively healthy," said Paul L. Nguyen, MD, a radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. "This tells us that it’s not just age alone, but also overall health status that must be considered when deciding whether or not to aggressively treat men with prostate cancer. We must evaluate the entire patient including his age, additional health issues and longevity."