17th June 2011
Elderly people are losing their lives unnecessarily because of late cancer diagnosis, new research has shown.
A study carried out at Cambridge University showed that late cancer diagnosis is far more common in the elderly than younger groups, with patients with breast and bowel cancer the most likely to be diagnosed in late stages, when the disease is often untreatable
Researchers looked at the records of almost 33,000 patients diagnosed with the two forms of cancer between 2006 and 2009 and compared the age and stage the disease was first spotted.
Georgios Lyratzopoulos said the reason behind this may be because awareness of cancer decreases in older age groups. They may mistake the initial symptoms for general health problems.
He and his team added that it was essential that the government did more to raise awareness of cancer symptoms among the elderly, and make sure that warning signs were not ignored by GPs during check ups.
A study conducted recently at Edinburgh University showed that a urine test could be an easy way to spot cancer in the early stages.
Treatment is known to be much more effective the earlier cancer is diagnosed.
Posted by Phillip Briggs
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