U of M study: more intense treatment for bladder cancer doesn't help
Large recent studies have documented the fact that more intense therapy does not appear to improve survival rates for prostate cancer. Studies of breast cancer have also documented the fact that early diagnosis and intense therapy are of no value to some patients. Now a study published by the University of Michigan Health System appears to document similar truths regarding bladder cancer.
Early (or non-muscle invasive) bladder cancer is treated by widely divergent therapies among urologists. The U of M study followed 940 physicians providing care to 20,000 patients with this diagnosis. The University did not publicize the length of time the patients were followed, however the study paradigm would be available in the April Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Researchers found that while per-patient treatment expenditures varied from about $3,000.00 to about $7,000.00, survival rates did not. They concluded that "more [treatment] is not necessarily better" and in fact the rate of complications increased for aggressively treated patients. As with breast cancer and prostate cancer, it seems clear that we have much to learn in terms of differentiating cancers and distinguishing individual response to cancer.