Some cancer patients being 'written off' as too old

Some cancer patients are being "written off" as too old for treatment, the charity Macmillan Cancer Support has warned, despite more than 130,000 pensioners in the UK surviving for at least 10 years after being diagnosed.

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Age alone 'should not decide' cancer treatment fate

The charity has said many cancer sufferers in the UK are being denied treatment because they are deemed to be too old. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Macmillan Cancer Support said health workers should ensure decisions over cancer treatment take into account a patient's physical and mental health and not be based on age alone.

The National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN), which carried out the research into pensioner survival rates alongside the charity, joined the call for wider assessment.

NCIN's clinical lead Dr Mick Peake said: "It is vital that all patients receive the best and most effective treatment based on the nature of their cancer and their fitness for treatment and that chronological age alone is not the deciding factor.

"We know that cancer survival rates in older patients in many other countries are better than in the UK and ensuring optimal treatment at all ages is the way of tackling this issue."

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