Should treatments offered to older men with high risk prostate cancer be different than for younger men? Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco found that older men were denied more aggressive treatments because of their age. Men older than 75 years of age with high-risk prostate cancer often are under-treated when compared to their younger peers. Many older men were only offered hormone therapy or watchful waiting alone, instead of more aggressive treatments such as surgery and radiation therapies.

The researchers stated that their findings indicated that age is a barrier to treatments that could cure prostate cancer. The researchers concluded that the failure to use more aggressive treatment results in their earlier death. Are we putting men on an ice flow and just sending them out to sea to die?

“There is a disconnect between risk and treatment decisions among older men,” said senior investigator Matthew R. Cooperberg, MD, MPH. “Patient age is strongly influencing treatment decisions, so we sought to understand whether age plays a role in risk of the disease and survival. We found that under-treatment of older men with high-risk disease might in part explain higher rates of cancer mortality in this group. There is also pervasive over treatment of low-risk disease in this age group. Overall, treatment needs to be selected more based on diseas