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Cancer in the elderly: Research fails to keep up with demographic change
Date:5/11/2012

Barcelona, Spain: New research showing that almost half of 13,000 patients with head and neck cancers had other health-related problems at the same time is one of the presentations in a special session at the 31st conference of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO 31) [1] today (Friday). The session will highlight the effect of the demographic time bomb caused by an increasingly ageing population.

Dr Charlotte Rotbl Bje, from the Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark, will tell the conference that analysis of co-morbidities other medical conditions or diseases that exist alongside an initial cancer diagnosis in 12956 patients registered in the DAHANCA database of all Danish head and neck cancers diagnosed between 1992 and 2008 found that 44% had at least one co-morbidity.

She will say that it is essential that doctors make a proper assessment of co-morbidities when deciding on the correct treatment for elderly patients with head and neck cancer. These patients are often long-term users of tobacco and/or alcohol, which, besides having a carcinogenic effect, can also cause lung, heart and cerebrovascular disorders.

The analysis by Dr Rotbl Bje and her colleague Professor Jens Overgaard found that the most common co-morbidities were cerebrovascular disease (11%), chronic pulmonary disease (11%), and cardiovascular disease (10%). Increasing age was significantly associated with co-morbidities, although there was no difference between genders. Survival rates and risk of death were also strongly associated with co-morbidities. The median age of the patients was 62; the youngest was 10 and the oldest 100. Men made up 73% of the total cohort. Information on co-morbidities was obtained from the National Patient Registry, which contains discharge diagnoses from all Danish hospital admissions and outpatient visits.

"Our analysis has shown how important it is to take a multidisciplinary approach to cancer in
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary.rice@riceconseil.eu
European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO)
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4

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