Older patients receive inadequate cancer support – report

10th June 2011

Older cancer patients receive an inferior level of support and treatments than their younger counterparts, a new study indicates.

A report by the King's Fund, reported by netdoctor.co.uk, reveals that many older patients are under-treated, contributing to worsening survival rates among this demographic.

Among deprived social groups survival rates are also relatively poor, the study shows, with the gap widening, despite some improvements.

The study said late cancer diagnosis and delays in accessing treatment were key factors in England's substandard cancer performance, the website reported.

But survival rates for breast cancer are getting better, with around 83 per cent of patients surviving for at least five years.

"We hope urgent priority is given to closing the gap in survival rates between different groups in society," Catherine Foot, senior fellow at the King's Fund, was quoted as saying.

"We found that older people are particularly burdened by this, being more likely to have cancer, to be diagnosed later, to be under-treated and to experience worse outcomes," she added.

This week is Cervical Screening Awareness Week. Organised by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the week aims to raise greater awareness about the importance of having smear tests.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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