A new study has claimed that elderly breast cancer patients are often denied treatments that are made available to those of a younger age.
The data, which is to be presented at the National Cancer Intelligence Network Conference, looked into the treatment given to 23,000 breast cancer victims between 1997 and 2005 and found that those aged over 70 were less likely to have surgery than other age groups.
The research, into women from the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East, found that surgery rates varied according to age and also postcode as those from deprived areas were also found to be less likely to have surgery.
Care services minister Paul Burstow said that cancer patients, irrespective of age, should get the best treatment available and added that age discrimination is not acceptable in a modern NHS. Over 48,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year, and it causes 12,000 deaths.