Senior Patients With Cancer Can Benefit From Palliative Radiotherapy

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An older patient with cancer gets treatment at the ED.
An older patient with cancer gets treatment at the ED.

(HealthDay News) -- All patients with painful bone metastasis should be referred for palliative radiotherapy to relieve the pain, regardless of age, according to a study published online May 23 in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology.

Jon Cacicedo, M.D., from Universitario Cruces/Biocruces Health Research Institute in Barakaldo, Spain, and colleagues evaluated whether age is a predictor of pain response after radiotherapy for painful bone metastasis among 128 patients undergoing palliative radiotherapy (June 2010 to June 2014).

Based on pain response assessment completed pre-treatment and at four weeks after radiotherapy, the researchers found that pain response was better in those aged >75 years versus younger patients (odds ratio, 3.2), in patients receiving multiple fractions rather than a single fraction of 8 Gy (odds ratio, 2.8), and in patients with a pretreatment pain score ≥8 versus ≤7 (odds ratio, 2.4). No other variables reached significance. The only independent predictors of pain response, in multivariate analysis, were treatment schedule (odds ratio, 3.4) and pre-radiotherapy pain score (odds ratio, 2.8).

"All patients with painful bone metastasis should be referred for palliative radiotherapy to relieve the pain, regardless of age," the authors write. "An older age should not be a reason to withhold palliative radiation treatment."

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