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Is NHS Cancer Treatment for the Elderly Lacking in Quality?

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According to a review on cancer treatment for the elderly that has just been published, treatment offered on the NHS is not as good for older people as it is for those who are younger.

The report was released by The King’s Fund. This is a think tank that looks at different ways in which the NHS could be improved. It found a notable difference between the experiences older patients in England have as compared to the experiences of younger people in England.

Canada and Sweden are known to have much better survival rates than England, but the report has shown that survival rates are worse still for older people in the country. Senior fellow at The King’s Fund, Catherine Foot, said that older people are more likely to “be diagnosed later, be under-treated and to experience worse outcomes.”

 Late diagnosis of cancer is a big contributor to the poor survival rates that England has overall when compared to other countries but this is particularly noticeable in older people, who are also said by the report to be under treated, with fewer tests and fewer surgical procedures being made available to them.

The current government is in the midst of discussing NHS reforms, and it has pointed to the poor cancer survival rates as one of the triggers for the reform. The report from the Fund does state that these rates are improving, but perhaps not as fast as we would like. It would appear from the research that the elderly still fall far behind the rest.

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