A study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association's Archives of Surgery has revealed the plight of elderly women who have not received up to the mark breast cancer screenings and treatment, resulting in delayed diagnoses, as compared to the younger lot.
David Litvak of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center of Orange County, Calif., and colleagues studied the records of 354 breast cancer patients who were aged 70 years and above. The study showed that 46% of the patients approached their physician with breast cancer that was detectable by a physical examination, as against 62% of women in the older age bracket. Further, about 60% of women in the older age group underwent mammograms, solely with the purpose of confirming the results of the physical exam, as opposed to the 72% of women who were examined. The findings show that older women stood a lesser chance of receiving regular mammograms than younger women.
Litvak, who conducted the study said, 'There is an underlying belief that older people can't tolerate treatments that we use in younger people. But as the population has aged, 80 years old now can mean that people still have 10 or more years of life expectancy.' Further he said, most decisions are made by doctors and patients with 'an inaccurate perceived notion of what older people can and cannot tolerate', which should not be the case.