French researchers are recommending that elderly people with a malignant form of brain cancer should be offered aggressive treatment with radiation therapy.
Doctors have previously been uncertain as to whether to offer radiation treatment to patients over the age of 70, as they argue that the glioblastoma typically kills half of its victims within a year in any case.
However, a team of researchers from the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris found that elderly patients who were given the aggressive form of cancer treatment enjoyed significantly longer survival times than those offered supportive care alone, Reuters news agency reports.
Elderly volunteers who simply received supportive care survived for 17 weeks on average, which is similar to the survival time expected for younger patients.
However, those patients who received radiation therapy tended to gain an extra 12 weeks of life, on average, making a significant difference to life expectancy, although still less than for young patients receiving the treatment.
In addition, they reported receiving a similar quality of life to those elderly patients who did not receive radiation treatment.
What's better? Private or NHS healthcare?