Bladder cancer patients over 70 less likely to get curative treatment

April 17, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Older bladder cancer patients are less likely than younger patients to receive treatments intended to cure their disease such as surgery to remove the bladder or radiotherapy. But this difference cannot be fully explained by age, according to new research by scientists published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Researchers, funded by Yorkshire at the University of Sheffield, looked at the records of around 3,300 bladder cancer patients diagnosed in Sheffield between 1994 and 2009. They wanted to investigate how age, type of bladder cancer and treatment affected the chances of surviving the disease2.

They found that 52 per cent of patients under 60 had potentially curative treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy, compared with 34 per cent of patients in their 70s and only 12 per cent of patients over 80.

And older patients over 70 were more likely to die of their bladder cancer than younger patients.

The researchers believe that the higher number of deaths in those over 70 is because these patients had a higher proportion of more aggressive tumours and were less likely to receive radical treatments such as or surgery to remove the bladder and nearby organs.

Mr James Catto, study author and consultant urological surgeon at the University of Sheffield, said: "Even though it appears that older patients are more likely to have aggressive tumours, our findings suggest that not enough older patients are being offered treatments that could increase their chance of survival.

"What's very worrying is this conservative approach to treating older patients appears to be affecting the life expectancy of this group, something that doctors must work hard to combat."

Dr Kathryn Scott, head of research funding at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: "This research shows that the age of bladder in Sheffield greatly affects how they are treated. This has a considerable effect on in elderly patients and Yorkshire, along with the rest of the UK, is going to have to change to address this striking difference."

Sarah Woolnough, executive director of policy and information at Cancer Research UK, said: "This study shows the older the patients are the less likely they are to be offered the kind of treatments that could cure their cancer.

"These decisions are never easy and need to be balanced with quality of life but it's vital for patients of all ages to be given the option of a possible cure when it is still feasible."

Explore further: Adding chemo to radiotherapy halves risk of deadly bladder cancer returning

More information: Noon, A. et al. (2013). Competing mortality in patients diagnosed with bladder cancer: evidence of undertreatment in the elderly and female patients British Journal of Cancer DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2013.106

Related Stories

Adding chemo to radiotherapy halves risk of deadly bladder cancer returning

April 23, 2012
(Phys.org) -- Bladder cancer patients given low doses of chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy were nearly 50 per cent less likely to relapse with the most lethal form of the disease compared to patients given radiotherapy ...

Multi-tasking imatinib boosts radiotherapy for bladder tumours

March 4, 2013
Cancer drug imatinib (Glivec) could boost radiotherapy treatment to destroy bladder cancer that has spread to the bladder wall, reveals research published in Cancer Research.

Chemo - radiation best for bladder cancer, study finds

April 19, 2012
(HealthDay) -- The addition of two well-tolerated chemotherapy drugs to radiation therapy led to significantly longer survival rates among patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

Elderly breast cancer patients less likely to get surgery

June 17, 2011
(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Manchester researchers, working with colleagues in York, Leeds and Hull, looked at the records of more than 23,000 women with breast cancer diagnosed in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and North ...

Recommended for you

CAR-T immunotherapy may help blood cancer patients who don't respond to standard treatments

October 20, 2017
Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is one of the first centers nationwide to offer a new immunotherapy that targets certain blood cancers. Newly approved ...

Researchers pinpoint causes for spike in breast cancer genetic testing

October 20, 2017
A sharp rise in the number of women seeking BRCA genetic testing to evaluate their risk of developing breast cancer was driven by multiple factors, including celebrity endorsement, according to researchers at the University ...

Study shows how nerves drive prostate cancer

October 19, 2017
In a study in today's issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore Medicine, report that certain nerves sustain prostate cancer growth by triggering a switch that causes tumor vessels ...

Gene circuit switches on inside cancer cells, triggers immune attack

October 19, 2017
Researchers at MIT have developed a synthetic gene circuit that triggers the body's immune system to attack cancers when it detects signs of the disease.

One to 10 mutations are needed to drive cancer, scientists find

October 19, 2017
For the first time, scientists have provided unbiased estimates of the number of mutations needed for cancers to develop, in a study of more than 7,500 tumours across 29 cancer types. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger ...

Researchers target undruggable cancers

October 19, 2017
A new approach to targeting key cancer-linked proteins, thought to be 'undruggable," has been discovered through an alliance between industry and academia.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.