Older Cancer Patients Won’t Necessarily Refuse Treatment, Study Finds

Older Cancer Patients Won’t Necessarily Refuse Treatment, Study Finds

Facing down rigorous cancer treatments at any age is not an eventuality anyone would relish. For older patients, the difficulties and complications can be especially overwhelming. Despite the rigors, however, researchers are finding that popular belief is incorrect in regard to cancer treatment and older patients. They are no more likely to refuse potentially lifesaving treatment than their younger counterparts, as it turns out.

A study released recently by Macmillan Cancer Support in London shed light on the misconceptions of this popular belief. To better understand refusal rates, researchers worked with 1,004 patients with cancer and 500 patients without it. The study ultimately concluded there were no significant differences based upon age or cancer stage guiding a patient’s likelihood of opting out of a particular treatment type.

While the research found that older patients are more than willing to undergo treatment if necessary, researchers worry those who desire help may not be receiving it. There is a concern that’s been raised that some patients are not being given access to treatment simply because of their age rather than their stated desire to undergo therapy that may extend or save their lives.

The findings support other studies that show older patients are less likely to be given lifesaving treatments than their younger counterparts. Researchers now say that older patients may not be offered these treatments in some cases based on the misconception they would prefer not to undergo them.

The bottom line for older cancer patients is that it is imperative for them to discuss all treatment options with their healthcare providers. The decision to undergo treatment is entirely in the hands of the patient, but it can be very beneficial to explore the options first. People who are diagnosed with cancer at any age should be counseled on their options, the likelihood of success and the potential side effects and risks any treatment proposals may present with.

Southlake Oncology, a Choice Cancer Care Treatment Center, located in the Southlake and Grapevine area, is a community-focused oncology practice that delivers exceptional care to North Texas cancer patients with a variety of cancer diagnoses and blood disorders.

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