U.S. News and World Review, in their HealthDay section reported an interesting aspect of the continuing debate about treatment vs. “watchful waiting” (active surveillance). The article, written by Karen Pallarito “Rethinking Prostate Cancer in Older Men” suggests aggressive treatment is viable, even for patients in their late 70s!

Her premise, that increasing life expectancies, improved treatment options and better information on results, are allowing older men diagnosed with early prostate cancer to elect active treatment as opposed to active surveillance.
She was very clear that active surveillance does remain a viable option for men, especially older men, but according to Pallarito, many experts have changed their thinking and now believe that aggressive treatment — even for older men — may be the better way to go.

According to Dr. Edouard J. Trabulsi, assistant professor in the department of urology at Jefferson Medical College and co-director of the Jefferson Prostate Diagnostic Center in Philadelphia, “We’re pushing the limits on the upper end.”

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has convinced many clinicians’ to modifying their thoughts on this issue. The study, which involved 44,000 men, found that the death risk for those who received prostate cancer treatment was nearly one-third lower than for men who received no treatment. This was true across all age categories, including the oldest men in the study, aged 75 to 80.

“We often think of prostate cancer as an indolent disease, and it is for many men, which is why observation is a very reasonable treatment option for patients with low and intermediate risk disease,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Yu-Ning Wong, a medical oncologist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “However, the life expectancy for a