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Older Men and Prostate Cancer: October 7, 2011

Watching and waiting, a time trusted practice for many men with prostate cancer.

“We like to call it active surveillance. We watch these patients very carefully. We watch their PSA, we watch their prostate examination. From time to time we do a serial, a transrectal ultrasound biopsy,” says Dr. Meir Daller, a urologist on the medical staff with Lee Memorial Health System.

Prostate cancer is something most men will have to consider, if they live long enough. Studies show the older a man is, the more likely they are to have it.

“As a matter of fact 80% of 80 year old men have prostate cancer on autopsies,” says Dr. Meir.

Generally considered a slow growing cancer, urologists are seeing older men look at their life expectancies and gauge their risk.

“Average 70 year old man is going to live for another 13 years so he’s going to be 83, 84,” says Dr. Meir.

Hoping to outlive even a slow-growing cancer, older patients are becoming more active with their treatment.

“The most aggressive type of procedure would be a radical surgery either open or using the daVinci to remove the prostate. The second, least aggressive, is to do some type of radiation. The third option would be active surveillance,” says Dr. Meir.

With better treatments and the hope of living longer, older many are also more keeping up with their PSAs.

“One of the fastest growing age groups in our practice is over 90,” says Dr. Jasper Rizzo, a urologist on the medical staff with Lee Memorial Health System.

This active role is paying off for some.

“I met this man in 1993 his PSA when he came in was 295 and he already had spread to bone and he was in his early seventies and I said look here’s what you got we’ll put you on therapy for this, you probably have five years. He’s 90, he’s still alive,” says Dr. Rizzo.

Proving you’re never too old to take care of your health.