Almost half of elderly patients miscalculate life expectancy

Almost half of elderly people don’t have an accurate sense of how much longer they’re likely to live, a problem that may lead some of them to make poorly informed medical decisions, a U.S. study suggests.

Doctors and patients often consider life expectancy when deciding which preventive measures or treatments will do the most good.

This projection might, for example, lead a cancer patient to skip toxic chemotherapy if they’re not likely to live long enough to benefit from it, or it might encourage someone with diabetes to make lifestyle changes that might improve the last few decades of life.

Lisa Rapaport reports.

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