Older people with kidney cancer might think twice about surgery
A new study released on Tuesday claims that elderly patients with kidney cancer may actually fare better by having their disease closely monitored rather than undergoing surgery to treat it. Enduring the stress of surgery itself, along with the effects of anesthesia, may put them at a greater risk for infection and other complications.
“Our analysis indicates that physicians can comfortably tell an elderly patient, especially a patient who is not healthy enough to tolerate general anesthesia and surgery, that the likelihood of dying of kidney cancer is low and that kidney surgery is unlikely to extend their lives,” said lead author Dr. William C. Huang in a statement.
“However, since it is difficult to identify which tumors will become lethal, elderly patients who are completely healthy and have an extended life expectancy, may opt for surgery,” adds Dr. Huang, a professor at New York University Medical Center in New York.
The study looked at more than 8,000 seniors who were diagnosed with small masses in their kidneys and found that the “cancer-related death rates are comparable whether a patient undergoes surveillance or surgery to remove the mass.”
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