Age should be no barrier to surgery, says report

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 16 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6957
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Decisions about a patient’s suitability for surgery should be based on their overall health or biological age rather than their chronological age, warns a new report from the Royal College of Surgeons and the charity Age UK.1

The authors examined treatment rates across eight areas of surgery and looked at how these varied with age. Among the examples cited in the report was the finding that the incidence of breast cancer peaked in patients in the 85 years or more age group while the surgery rate peaked in the mid-60s and then fell sharply from the age of 70.

Similarly, the rate of elective knee replacement and hip replacement surgery for patients in their late 70s or more dropped consistently from 2008 …

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