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Nursing home patients rarely receive treatment for prostate cancer

Category: Prostate

The vast majority of men who are given positive PSA test results while in a nursing home setting never receive appropriate treatments for their condition, according to a new study.

A team of Italian researchers assessed the medical records of more than 145,000 nursing home residents. Family Practice News reports that only 6.3 percent of those who were diagnosed with prostate cancer received chemotherapy. Rates of appropriate treatment were also low for colon cancer.

"Cancer appears to be ignored in the nursing home," lead researcher Dr. Giuseppe Colloca told the news source. "Often there is a misdiagnosis of cancer, with patients not being diagnosed with terminal cancer and cancer considered more of a comorbidity."

It is often difficult for doctors to know how best to proceed in treating prostate cancer cases, particularly in older men. The cancer is generally slow moving and rarely progresses to a dangerous state in seniors. Given the fact that some therapies carry a high risk of side effects, many doctors advise conservative approaches.

However, the fact that so many nursing homes failed to treat other forms of cancer suggests that other factors may explain low rates of effective treatment for prostate cancer patients.

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