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Should cancer charities be ageist?

should cancer charities be ageist imageMy inbox is deluged every day with requests to help promote awareness of products, services and charities. It is impossible for me to support them all. One charity to approach me this week ( in fact they chased me when I didn’t immediately respond) has launched an app to support women with cancer and their families. A worthy cause I thought until I read further when the press release explained it.

‘welcomes women between the ages of 18 and 50 and provides access to a highly supportive community at every stage in their cancer journey’.

Why is 50 the cut off point?

Why the age of 50 is the cut off point I don’t know. I have asked the question but so far no response. Do women over 50 with cancer not need support? How are their needs different from those who are younger? I would have thought a woman at 50 would have more in common with juggling issues and responsibilities such as dependent children whilst dealing with cancer as women in their 30s and 40s- which are probably quite different to those facing an 18 year olds,  who are welcomed into this initiative.

I applaud any venture that truly sets out to support women, but I just wonder why there is an age limit in this particular instance.

I may be a little sensitive re this topic at the moment as a close friend who is over 50 was diagnosed with cancer just 2 weeks ago and is currently in hospital having had major surgery this week.

I appreciate that I founded a community for women over 50, but younger women are welcome to join – and in fact I have had many messages from younger women saying that the inspirational stories we share on the website has helped to take away the fear of ageing for them.

I know there is a perception that there is an element of ageism when it comes to allocating medical resources, and certainly within my own family we had to research and push for treatment for a family member over 80 for a serious condition. We were successful but I am convinced that age was a factor with the NHS when looking at the prospect of signing off on a very expensive drug. However this is the first time that I have seen a upper age limit with a charity offering support for cancer patients.

What are your thoughts?

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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