April 3, 2019 – Preventive Medicines and Advanced Cancer

March 28, 2019

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Anchor lead: When people have advanced cancers, a close look at preventive medicines is needed, Elizabeth Tracey reports

When people have advanced cancers, the average number of medicines they’re taking for things like cholesterol lowering and other preventive strategies actually increase in the last year of life, a recent study found. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says if this describes you, think carefully and talk with your provider.

Nelson: The number, some 80% of cancers are diagnosed above the age of 60, almost 30% above the age of 80, what people call polypharmacy, many medications, as you get older also carries a threat of what we call delirium, it affects cognitive abilities and promotes people falling, removing these medicines as people get older is already a reasonable approach to geriatric medicine and I think there should be a lot of thought as to why you’re taking each medicine you’re taking if you have a diagnosis of a metastatic cancer.  :30

Nelson says there’s also a significant financial cost to taking many medicines. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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