Older Folks, Who Are More Likely To Get Cancer, Are In Fact Mostly Excluded From Clinical Trials

Mar 30, 2009 by

Older Folks, Who Are More Likely To Get Cancer, Are In Fact Mostly Excluded From Clinical Trials

Fact: The majority, or about 60%, of people who are diagnosed with cancer are aged over 65. What you probably did not know: Many major cancer studies exclude this very group of people! This was revealed in a study which was published in The International Journal of Clinical Practice.

National Cancer institute (NCI) statistics reveal that those aged over 65 are about 10 times as likely to get cancer, and about 15 times as likely to be killed by it, as compared to persons aged under 65. That being the case, it is worrying, if not downright ridiculous and bizarre, that this very age group is excluded from studies.

The study had been carried out by researchers in Barcelona, who looked at 224 cancer sufferers and found that age is not the main factor which determines the survival rates of patients. Instead, it was the degree of spread of cancer at the point of diagnosis. Other factors, such as the affected person’s overall quality of life, also played a part.

It also found that older persons are “systematically excluded” from many clinical studies. Of cancer sufferers who do take part in clinical trials, only about 25% of them are aged above 65. Older folks are often excluded on the basis that they have more complicated medical and health needs and issues.

However, this means that doctors are not aware of how certain treatment protocols would impact older cancer patients. Doctors may also choose less aggressive therapies for this group.

The main question I would ask is, if the group which most gets hit by cancer is not included in most cancer trials and studies, then how accurate are the findings of clinical trials which claim that so-and-so drug has a so-and-so percentage “success” rate?

Are statistics being manipulated again?

Food for thought.

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