More older Scots surviving cancer

More than 11,000 Scots have survived for at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer over the age of 65, according to new research.

Macmillan Cancer Support examined cancers diagnosed between 1991 and 2010.

The research also found that 735 Scots diagnosed at 80 or over survived for at least 10 years.

Last year, an international study found higher cancer mortality rates in older people in the UK than elsewhere.

Macmillan Cancer Support produced the new study with the National Cancer Intelligence Network, a partnership of government and charity organisations in the UK.

Janice Preston, Macmillan's general manager in Scotland, said: "It's good news many older people are surviving cancer and it's important older people, their families, and health professionals know cancer can be successfully treated, even for someone well over pension age.

"However it's worrying older people in the UK have higher mortality rates than those in other countries and we need to understand why this is."

Below average

In December the Eurocare-5 study published the results of research into cancer survival rates in 29 European countries between 1999 and 2007.

Eurocare-5 showed cancer survival rates across Europe were improving, but the UK had below average survival rates for many common forms of cancer.

It found the largest gap in survival rates in patients aged over 75.

Ms Preston added: "We know older people may be reluctant to visit the doctor and might face barriers to treatment including other health problems or lack of support at home.

"Older people themselves or health professionals may also make assumptions on their ability to go through treatment.

"However it's vital we ensure any potential barriers to treatment are picked up and tackled as [Macmillan's] research shows older people can be successfully treated."

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