In Britain, the breast cancer patients ‘too old’ to save

Thousands denied life-saving surgery as doctors base treatment on age

Sophie Borland
Daily Mail [UK]
16th June 2011

Elderly women are being denied life-saving breast cancer surgery that is routinely given to younger patients, alarming research reveals.

Some doctors look at a patient’s age in their notes – and decide on a treatment plan before they have even met them, experts warn.

Their study, which provides evidence of ageism in the Health Service, found that 90 per cent of breast cancer patients aged 30-50 are offered surgery to remove tumours, compared with 70 per cent of those in their seventies.

Even women in their 50s are less likely than younger patients to have an operation.

Cancer specialist Dr Mick Peake said: ‘I’ve seen evidence of ageism when doctors are approaching the issue. Some take age as disproportionate evidence, often when they’ve never even met the patient…

Only last week, a report by The King’s Fund think-tank warned that elderly cancer patients in Britain were being diagnosed later than those in other European countries and were less likely to be referred for operations.

Previous estimates claim that 15,000 elderly die prematurely every year because cancer care on the NHS is not as good as that provided elsewhere in Europe and the U.S.

One in eight women will get breast cancer. Up to 47,700 women are being diagnosed every year, double the number diagnosed 30 years ago.

The entire article is at the Daily Mail.

H/T Weasel Zippers

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