When it comes to treatment for cervical cancer, researchers found that elderly women are less likely to receive aggressive treatment, compared with their younger counterparts. The study, reported in Cancer (January 1, 2005), examined medical records of >1500 patients treated for invasive cervical cancer over 17 years (1986-2003). The records were divided into 2 categories: women younger than 70 and women 70 or older.
The results of the study indicated that, regardless of the stage of tumor development, surgery was performed to treat 16% of the elderly group, compared with 54% of the younger group. The remaining patients were treated with radiation without surgery. The women treated with radiation therapy alone were 5 times less likely to survive, compared with women treated surgically. Elderly women treated with radiation were given lower doses on average, and they were 9 times more apt to forgo treatment altogether.