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Planning for 2020: increasing elderly population poses huge challenges in cancer care
Date:9/24/2007

Barcelona, Spain: Huge challenges face healthcare professionals and policy makers in planning for, and providing cancer care over the next decade or so. Chief amongst these will be ensuring that healthcare professionals have the skills and knowledge to treat a greater number of elderly people with cancer, that current inappropriate ageist attitudes towards the elderly cease, and that advances are made in ensuring that cancer patients are able to comply with their treatment.

In her keynote lecture to the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona on Monday, Kathy Redmond, who is editor of the magazine Cancer World and also a nurse, will say that these are huge issues that need to be addressed now.

It is almost impossible to predict what the reality will be in 2020, she will say. But one thing is certain: there will be many more elderly people living with cancer. There is still far too much complacency about this time bomb.

She will say that one problem is that as people get older they may develop a number of different conditions, only one of which might be cancer. However, there are not enough healthcare professionals who have skills and knowledge in both cancer and the best care and treatment of the elderly. This is important because an elderly person could be receiving treatment for several different conditions and it is necessary to know what impact those treatments are likely to have on the elderly and also how they might interact.

I hope that ageism will be less prevalent by then, Ms Redmond will say. At present there is a problem with persistent negative attitudes to the elderly. Such attitudes mean that many elderly cancer patients receive sub-optimal cancer care. In fact, there is an inverse relationship between increasing age and the likelihood of proper treatment despite evidence that otherwise healthy elderly cancer patients can benefit from treatment to the same degree as their younger counterparts. Under-tr
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-077-112-96986
ECCO-the European CanCer Conference
Source:Eurekalert

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