Bladder cancer in elderly and female patients may not be treated adequately, according to British researchers.

A team led by James W. F. Catto, MD, of the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, U.K., identified 3,281 patients from a population-based cancer registry diagnosed with bladder cancer from 1994 to 2009. The study group had a median follow-up of 48 months. At five years after their diagnosis, 1,246 patients (40%) had died: 617 (18.8) from bladder cancer and 629 (19%) from other causes, the investigators reported online ahead of print in the British Journal of Cancer.

The five-year bladder cancer mortality rate ranged from 1% to 59% and the other-cause mortality rate ranged from 6% to 90%, depending mainly on the tumor type and patient age. The oldest patient groups had the highest cancer-specific mortality. In addition, only 12% of patients older than 80 years received radical treatment for invasive cancer compared with 52% of those younger than 60 years, a significant difference between the age groups. Female patients with high-risk non-muscle invasive tumors were more likely to die from the malignancy disease compared with their male counterparts.

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“Clinicians should consider offering more aggressive treatment interventions among older patients,” the authors concluded.