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

iated with an increased risk of local relapse," she says.

"The authors concluded that it was a reasonable choice to omit radiation in women in such a group of patients aged over 70. However, I believe that it is important to discuss these data with these patients and that the final decision should take into account their individual preferences."

Dr. Biganzoli's hospital unit works in close collaboration with geriatricians in order to carry out a proper pre-treatment evaluation of elderly patients. "We are also running clinical trials to identify accurate screening tools for geriatric impairment and to find biomarkers of frailty. Without the evidence these trials can provide, although we try to do our best, we are often working in the dark," Dr. Biganzoli concludes.

Prof Vincenzo Valentini, radiation oncologist at the Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli in Rome, Italy, and President of ESTRO, said: "These three presentations underline the difficulties clinicians face when treating elderly patients. Not only is there the problem of co-morbidity, but frequently the lack of trials specifically designed for older people means that results from studies including a completely different age group are extrapolated to them. This can result in their receiving inappropriate treatment either under-treatment or unacceptable toxicity.

"Demographic change means that it has never been more important to find evidence-based treatment strategies for elderly patients."


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Contact: Mary Rice
mary.rice@riceconseil.eu
European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO)
Source:Eurekalert

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