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Top UK professor says cancer drugs should be denied to elderly patients.
The age of sufferers ‘should be taken into account.’
The Daily Mail reported:
Expensive drugs should be rationed for the old and frail in favour of people in their prime, one of Britain’s top cancer doctors has said.
Professor Karol Sikora, the former head of cancer at the World Health Organisation, said that oncologists are being ‘bombarded by anti-ageist sentiment’.
But his comments triggered an immediate backlash among cancer charities, which said it would be ‘blatant discrimination’ to deny patients treatment based on their age.
Many new, expensive cancer drugs only prolong life for a few months. Professor Sikora said that as the NHS is under increasing financial pressure, age should therefore be taken into account when deciding who should be treated.
He said: ‘You can’t have a rigid cut-off but one has to be realistic – three months of life extension for someone in their 90s has got to be less useful than for someone in their 30s or 40s. It’s getting a sense of proportion.’
His comments come amid fears that changes to the way drugs are prioritised will see the elderly written off on the grounds that they are of less value to society.
Under the proposals by the Government’s drugs rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, a drug’s benefit to wider society will be taken into account as well as its advantages to the individual.
Hat Tip EdBigCon