Younger men with advanced prostate cancer survive less

May 22nd, 2009 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 22 (IANS) While younger men with prostate cancer face a low risk of dying early, those having its advanced forms do not live as long as older men with similar forms of the disease.
These paradoxical findings indicate that there may be biological differences between prostate cancers that develop in younger men and those that develop in older men.

Uncovering these differences may help tailor screening and treatment strategies for patients based on age.

In general, a younger cancer patient has a better prognosis than an older patient with the same type of cancer. Few studies have analysed the health of younger versus older men after diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer, though.

Daniel Lin of the University of Washington and colleagues designed a study to examine the association between age at diagnosis and health outcomes in men in the US diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Mining the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, the investigators identified 318,774 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1988 and 2003.

Men aged 35 to 74 years were stratified by age at the time of diagnosis, and the researchers examined differences in tumour characteristics, treatment, and survival within each age group.

The analysis revealed that, over time, men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer at younger ages, likely due to more extensive screening.

Also, younger men are more likely to be treated with prostatectomy, have less aggressive cancers, and have a better chance of survival after 10 years compared with older men, said a Washington University release.

However, among men with advanced prostate cancers, the youngest men (aged 35 to 44 years) have a particularly poor prognosis compared with older men.

These young men are more likely to die from cancer or another cause sooner than older men with similar forms of cancer.

These findings are slated for publication in July issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

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