When is a life-threatening disease not worth treating?

S.A.M.

uniquely dreadful
Valued Senior Member
When your life expectancy is ten years or less. Or so say the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force:

Prostate cancer often progresses very slowly, and a large number of these cancers discovered through screening will probably never cause symptoms during the patient's lifetime ... Past task force guidelines noted there was no benefit to prostate cancer screening in men with less than 10 years left to live. ... The new guidelines take a more definitive stand, however, stating that the age of 75 is clearly the point at which screening is no longer appropriate.

In men age 75 years or older, the USPSTF found no direct evidence of benefits of prostate cancer screening. However, the USPSTF was able to establish an upper bound for the potential magnitude of the benefit of treating screening-detected prostate cancer in this age group, by extrapolating from evidence of treatment for clinically detected prostate cancer in this age group. For a population of men with an average life expectancy of 10 years or fewer, the USPSTF determined that the benefits of prostate cancer screening and treatment would range from small to none.

From the guidelines

What do you think of this? Is it appropriate to set limits on screening for a life-threatening disease based on expected life expectancy?
 
Is it appropriate to set limits on screening for a life-threatening disease based on expected life expectancy?

No. That is because people live to different ages so that if they find the cancer at say age 78 the person could live to be 105 or older if they remove the cancer in time. If they don't that person could die within say 5 or 10 years if not treated.
 
If you are going to die within the next few hours or days, then I would say it isn't worth treating, but other than that I would seek treatment until I actually died. Especially if I really wanted to continue living.
 
I'd say when it pisses all over your quality of life. For example I would rather be dead than tetraplegic. But other than that I would want treatment even if there was only a slight chance of surviving.
 
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