Ageism in breast cancer

Document type
Corporate author(s)
International Longevity Centre - UK
Date of publication
4 April 2019
Health Services, Older Adults, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services
Social welfare
Material type

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Age discrimination in the provision of health and care services was banned in the UK in 2012. However there continue to be age related discrepancies in the prevalence, treatment and outcomes experienced by people with breast cancer.

Ageism can manifest in a wide range of ways, ranging from overt discrimination to unconscious bias to internalised ageist stereotypes that can affect individuals’ attitudes and assumptions.

While a range of factors underlie the differences in incidence, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for older people with breast cancer as compared to younger people, the evidence continues to suggest that ageist attitudes, both on the part of older people themselves and on that of clinicians, may impact rates of diagnosis and the treatment that people with breast cancer receive.

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