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Elderly breast cancer patients risk treatment discrimination
Date:9/22/2011

icting how well an individual may tolerate treatments. All over Europe we see an increase in numbers of elderly patients and we more often see elderly patients who are fit and very good candidates for standard cancer treatments. Educational efforts, but also detailed research on predictors and supportive measures, are key to make sure that all cancer patients, irrespective of age, receive evidence based, best individual treatment approaches."

Commenting on the study, which he was not involved in, Dr. Etienne Brain from Hpital Ren Huguenin of the Institut Curie, France, stressed that evaluating competing risks remained a key issue in older patients with cancer, although it could yield opposite conclusions according to tumour type. "It relies mostly on the assessment of comorbidities and functional status, two items that the Socit Internationale d'Oncologie Griatrique (SIOG) has been strongly advocating to consider for almost ten years when taking decisions about treatment for elderly cancer patients, and which might help to estimate individual life expectancy," he said.

"Although this study confirms that causes not related to breast cancer are the main reasons for death, it also suggests the likelihood that the diverse nature of the hormone-positive disease plays a role too. We need to improve the breast cancer prognostic classification in the elderly, developing specific tools or implementing those developed for younger patients, in order not to deprive those who might derive a real benefit from additional treatment including chemotherapy."

Dr. James Bellini, a leading futures analyst and broadcaster who will give the keynote lecture at the opening ceremony for the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress on Friday evening, will urge policymakers to prepare for demographic challenges of the kind highlighted by Prof. Markopoulos's study. "An ageing Europe with falling populations and major financial problems will pose a growing chall
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Contact: Saffina Rana
saffina.rana@europe.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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