Around 15,000 cancer patients aged 75 years and over may be dying unnecessarily every year in the UK, according to research from the North West Cancer Intelligence Unit. The findings show that the number of under-75 year olds dying from cancer has fallen, but that little progress has been made in the over 75 years category. Every year 75,000 people aged over 75 years die of cancer.
The researchers blamed the findings on delays in diagnosis and poor treatment. According to the lead researcher, Dr Tony Moran, elderly cancer patients are not benefiting from cancer care improvements made in the past 10 years. He stated that if the UK was performing as well as Western Europe in the 75-84 year olds age group, and as well as the US in the over 85 year old group, there would be 15,000 fewer cancer deaths in the elderly each year.
The study also showed that UK cancer deaths in people aged over 85 years increased by two per cent in eight years, while in Europe they fell by 16 per cent.
Further reading - An in-depth analysis of the UK Pharmaceutical Market, including some background information on UK cancer statistics, is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: United Kingdom (published March 2009)