Boost to breast cancer patients

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RESEARCHERS in Sheffield have been awarded a £2 million grant to improve the treatment and survival rate of elderly women diagnosed with breast cancer.

The pioneering programme has been awarded the grant by the National Institute of Health Research to ensure older women are treated as effectively as younger patients.|

Every year, more than 13,000 British women over 70 are diagnosed with breast cancer, resulting in almost 7,000 deaths.

Intensive research has resulted in significant improvements in survival rates for younger women with breast cancer, but older women have not seen the same benefits.

Professor Malcolm Reed and Lynda Wyld from the Sheffield University’s Department of Oncology are leading the programme with Dr Karen Collins from Sheffield Hallam University.

They are investigating evidence that older women are not always treated as effectively as younger women, with some patients not given the chance to have treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Prof Reed said: “The award of a major programme grant funding provides us with a superb opportunity to continue our work to improve the care in this previously under-resourced area.

“The research programme will receive funding for five years with the aim of producing benefits for patients in the NHS.”

The research programme will collect detailed information on the treatment and outcomes women from across the country, with the aim of designing simple-to-use decision aids to help clinicians and patients decide on the most appropriate treatment.

Ms Wyld added: “The program will allow us to establish the most effective treatment for breast cancer in older patients tailored to their individual tumour characteristics and overall health.”