Cancer surgery is being withheld from older patients

18 March 2011

Older people who receive a cancer diagnosis are less likely to be operated on than their younger counterparts, it has been claimed.

According to new research conducted by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN), many older patients are deemed to infirm to benefit from invasive surgical procedures - even if surgery could save their life.

Speaking to The Times, Mick Peake, lead researcher behind the new study, also claimed that cancer survival rates in the UK were not as good as in many other European countries.
"There are clearly places where the teams are just looking at the patients and saying 'no'," Dr Peake said.

The surgeon, at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, said: "They sit there like in the arena in the Colosseum and it's thumbs up or thumbs down."

Last year, the NCIN claimed that too few lung cancer patients were receiving surgery - with just nine per cent with a lung cancer diagnosis going under the knife.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1 Peake, Mick et al. "Major surgical resections England, 2004-2006". National Cancer Intelligence Network. Friday, March 18th 2011.

2 "Data Suggests too few lung cancer patients are getting surgery". National Cancer Intelligence Network. Monday, November 8th 2010.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)