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Treatment of nonagenarian cancer patients provides survival benefits

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Aug 23 - A study at the Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) here has shown that treatment of cancer patients who are above 90 years of age provides survival benefits. In India there are over 11 lakh people above 90 years of age and their number is growing at an average annual rate of 9.2 per cent. The study is part of the ongoing Pattern of Care and Survival Studies.

Patients diagnosed from 2010 to 2016 at BBCI were included for the study. Of 60,087 patients registered during the seven-year period in the hospital, 146 (0.2 per cent) patients were of 90 years and above. Cancers of larynx, lung and oesophagus among men were the common cancer types. Among women, tongue, mouth, and pharynx were top leading sites of cancer. The overall survival of nonagenarian cancer patients who received treatment was 21 per cent versus as low as 7 per cent in nonagenarian patients who did not receive treatment. The study has been published online (ahead of print) in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, an official publication of the Association of Radiation Oncologists of India.

According to BBCI Director Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, although rarely seen in day-to-day practice, very little information is available to guide an oncologist in going forward with a firm decision for treatment of cancer patients above 90 years of age.

�Oncologists should be aware of the benefits of curative treatment in patients above 90 years of age with good performance status, instead of sending back for home-based care and palliative treatment only. The challenge for oncologists with nonagenarian cancer patients is to identify �fit� patients who can receive the same treatment as that offered to younger patients, and also identify �vulnerable� patients who need a tailored treatment, and finally identify �frail� patients who will probably not tolerate a radical treatment,� he said.

Dr Manigreeva Krishnatreya, lead author of the study, said the main sites of cancer in men and women above 90 years of age were head and neck, more so in women. �This shows there is a reduction of hormonal influence of women-centric cancers such as breasts and ovary in older ages. Interesting to note was the absence of prostate cancer among men in the top leading sites of cancer, as prostate cancer is commonly associated with old age,� he said. The study showed that over 86 per cent patients received only radiotherapy. This shows radiotherapy is the most important modality of treatment for nonagenarian cancer patients, he added.

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Treatment of nonagenarian cancer patients provides survival benefits

GUWAHATI, Aug 23 - A study at the Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) here has shown that treatment of cancer patients who are above 90 years of age provides survival benefits. In India there are over 11 lakh people above 90 years of age and their number is growing at an average annual rate of 9.2 per cent. The study is part of the ongoing Pattern of Care and Survival Studies.

Patients diagnosed from 2010 to 2016 at BBCI were included for the study. Of 60,087 patients registered during the seven-year period in the hospital, 146 (0.2 per cent) patients were of 90 years and above. Cancers of larynx, lung and oesophagus among men were the common cancer types. Among women, tongue, mouth, and pharynx were top leading sites of cancer. The overall survival of nonagenarian cancer patients who received treatment was 21 per cent versus as low as 7 per cent in nonagenarian patients who did not receive treatment. The study has been published online (ahead of print) in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, an official publication of the Association of Radiation Oncologists of India.

According to BBCI Director Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, although rarely seen in day-to-day practice, very little information is available to guide an oncologist in going forward with a firm decision for treatment of cancer patients above 90 years of age.

�Oncologists should be aware of the benefits of curative treatment in patients above 90 years of age with good performance status, instead of sending back for home-based care and palliative treatment only. The challenge for oncologists with nonagenarian cancer patients is to identify �fit� patients who can receive the same treatment as that offered to younger patients, and also identify �vulnerable� patients who need a tailored treatment, and finally identify �frail� patients who will probably not tolerate a radical treatment,� he said.

Dr Manigreeva Krishnatreya, lead author of the study, said the main sites of cancer in men and women above 90 years of age were head and neck, more so in women. �This shows there is a reduction of hormonal influence of women-centric cancers such as breasts and ovary in older ages. Interesting to note was the absence of prostate cancer among men in the top leading sites of cancer, as prostate cancer is commonly associated with old age,� he said. The study showed that over 86 per cent patients received only radiotherapy. This shows radiotherapy is the most important modality of treatment for nonagenarian cancer patients, he added.