Elderly breast cancer patients

Many older women are failing to receive adequate levels of breast cancer care compared to younger patients, claims a new study.

Research conducted by the University of Manchester discovered that older breast cancer patients are likely to receive poor levels of care, with less access to tests and treatments.

The report, published in the British Journal of Cancer, warns that this lack of good care could be adding to death rates due to higher levels of recurring cancer cases.

Dr Katrina Lavelle, who led the Manchester research, said: "Women aged 70 and over are less likely to receive the same breast cancer care as younger women and that this is related to their age rather than differences in the biology of their tumour."

She added: "Mortality of elderly breast cancer patients is unlikely to improve where this pattern of management persists."

The study looked at 480 cases of cancer in women aged 65 and over in a 12 month period. Researchers concluded that women aged over 80 were five times less likely to receive a triple assessment of their cancer, compared to a woman aged 60 to 65.

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Elderly breast cancer patients
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