The effect of increasing age, frailty and cognitive impairment on time to diagnosis of suspected cancer: a population based electronic health records study

Start Date Dec 2021

Code L14-Aff

Status Completed

Project Lead
Senior Lead
Charlotte Summerfield, Lesley Smith, Oliver Todd (all Leeds), Cristina Renzi, Yoryos Lyratzopoulos (both UCL), Connected Cities Bradford

Project summary

As we all get older, we can have different levels of health, independence, and outlooks on life. Older adults are more likely to be frail and to experience other problems such as memory loss or dementia. Older adults often have poorer outcomes following cancer diagnosis as they are less likely to survive the cancer or to cope with treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. For these reasons, it is possible that in some people, diagnosing cancer in the first place may not be in their best interests and may cause avoidable suffering due to cancer tests or treatment.  

This study aims to use a database of older adults to learn more about the effect of age, frailty and memory loss on the diagnosis of cancer. For example, we will compare cancer testing and diagnosis in frail patients and similar aged adults who are not frail to explore differences in time to testing or diagnosis.  

This project will help to guide larger studies aiming to support medical professionals understand how older adults with cancer symptoms are being supported, managed, and tested, and if this care could be improved. Finally we will consider the effect of the COVID19 pandemic on the diagnosis of cancer in older adults. 

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