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Older cancer patients 'under-treated'

Published on 26 March 2012 01:00 PM

A new report by Macmillan Cancer Support has suggested that older cancer patients often do not receive the same amount of treatment as younger patients because it is assumed that they cannot cope.

This means that many older people are denied access to the best medicine and also receive fewer radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments than other patients, the charity's report 'The Age Old Excuse: The under-treatment of older cancer patients' said.

Macmillan Cancer Support said 14,000 cancer deaths in people over 75 could be avoided each year if factors such as under-treatment and late diagnosis were addressed.

The study also found that trials of new cancer treatments often do not include a sufficient number of older patients to help doctors improve existing forms of treatments. Instead, they often make general recommendations on the basis of someone's age and ignore patients' individual fitness levels.

A lot of older patients do not go through with treatment because they lack support at home or do not have access to transport, the report said.

Copyright Press Association 2012

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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