District's doctors' promise: ‘no age limit in cancer treatments’

Ilkley Gazette: Consultant medical oncologist Michael Crawford Consultant medical oncologist Michael Crawford

Doctors in the district have said patients under their care would not be prevented from having cancer treatment simply because of their age.

Doctor Michael Crawford spoke out after charity Macmillan Cancer Support said age discrimination was a barrier to treatment which needed tackling.

Research by the charity and National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) found that more than 130,000 people in the UK have survived for at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer at 65 or over – but it said if UK survival rates in this age group were not so poor this number would be even higher.

Macmillan believes too many older patients in the UK are being assessed on their age alone and not their overall fitness.

The research, which is the first of its kind, also reveals that there are more than 8,000 people alive today who have survived for at least 10 years after being diagnosed at 80 or over.

Dr Crawford, consultant medical oncologist for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The treatment for all our cancer patients is discussed at multi-disciplinary team meetings and we would always take into account the individual’s medical state.

“A decision not to offer treatment would be made if the patient was too frail – but not simply because of their age. We are very meticulous on that point.”

Dr Ian Fenwick, the district’s clinical lead for cancer, said: “People of all ages in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven have access to a range of high quality cancer services which are provided by specialist healthcare professionals.”

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