Cancer doctors continue to push costly, harmful, unnecessary treatments on older patients

Cancer doctors continue to push costly, harmful, unnecessary treatments on older patients

Tuesday, January 06, 2015 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
http://www.naturalnews.com/048194_cancer_doctors_elderly_patients_unnecessary_treatments.html

America’s mainstream medical system is aggressive and unrelenting, operating with little regard for a patient’s quality of life as they mature into old age. Those who are systematically calculated to be at greater risk for specific cancers are often pushed into invasive, costly and unnecessary treatments like radiation and surgery. Deemed “preventive measures,” these cancer treatments are really just fear-based interventions that destroy an elderly patient’s quality of life, sucking them dry in the final years of their life. Radiation therapy can devastate the elderly patient’s body, weakening them, causing death by other means before the intervention can show any sort of positive benefit. Surgery can be unnecessary too, causing cancer to circulate more aggressively in the patient’s body, causing further complications. Oftentimes, the interventions become worthless in the end, since there is not enough time or strength for a patient to overcome their side effects.

Radiation and surgery provide more burden than benefit, destroying prostate cancer patients’ quality of life in their final years

In fact, new national guidelines now recommend that men with life expectancies of less than ten years should stay away from radiation and surgery, so as not to destroy their quality of life. The aggressive interventions can cause side effects that exacerbate other problems in the body, mitigating any benefit, destroying their quality of life in their few remaining years. Men calculated to be at low and intermediate risk for developing prostate cancer are now being told to stay away from aggressive interventions like surgery and radiation if they expect to have less than 10 years left to live. A new UCLA study found that most prostate cancer patients 66 years and older don’t benefit from radiation and therapy in the final years of their life. In fact, they are often burdened by the interventions.

The UCLA researchers found that most men in America are being pushed into receiving aggressive localized radiation, surgery or implantation of radioactive seeds in their prostate — three costly measures that destroy the elder’s quality of life — unnecessary interventions that may ultimately have a hand in pushing them over the brink.

Author Dr. Timothy Daskivich of UCLA said, “Life expectancy is poorly integrated into treatment decision-making for prostate cancer, yet it is one of the primary determinants of whether a patient will benefit from treatment with surgery or radiation.”

Dr. Daskivich further commented on the study: “Because these treatments have side effects such as erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and bowel problems, it’s critical for men with limited life expectancies to avoid unnecessary treatment for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer.”

The sweeping study, including over 96,000 men over 65 years old, investigated cases of early-stage prostate cancer diagnosis occurring between 1991 and 2007 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Medicare database. The study found that radioactive seed implants, surgery or radiation was used a shocking 68 percent of the time in men between the ages of 66 and 69. This shows that the interventions are often ordered early, out of haste and fear, without proper monitoring and understanding of how the prostate cancer progresses.

The study concludes, “We observed that greater than half of men aged 66 years and older had life expectancies of less than 10 years and that nearly half of those received aggressive treatment, mostly with radiation therapy. Because of their low likelihood of 10-year survival, these men are unlikely to live long enough to substantially benefit from aggressive treatment, but they still incur its associated side effects and financial burden. We hope that this information will promote greater awareness of the role of life expectancy in treatment decision-making for men with low- and intermediate-risk disease.”

Sources:

http://www.newswise.com

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