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Cancer Demographics

Population of Older Cancer Survivors to Rise Dramatically

7 years, 1 month ago

1049  0
Posted on Oct 20, 2011, 6 a.m.

Researchers estimate that the number of cancer survivors aged 65 and over will increase by approximately 42% by 2020.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that the number of cancer survivors aged 65 and over will increase by 42% over the next decade. Julia Rowland, Ph.D., director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the NCI, and colleagues analysed data from the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program. Results showed that in 1971, the population of cancer survivors was approximately 3 million, by 2008, the population had trebled to 12 million – 60% of which were at least 65 years old. The NCI projects that this number will increase to 63% by 2020. In 2008, the most common diagnoses among cancer survivors included female breast cancer (22%), prostate cancer (20 %) and colorectal cancer (9%). Lung cancer sufferers made up just 3% of the survivor population. “Cancer is largely a disease of aging, so we’re seeing yet another effect of the baby boom generation and we need to prepare for this increase,” said Rowland. “We may be fortunate in that the aging population is healthier than in previous generations, and new technologies could allow for better communication and follow-up.”

C Parry, EE Kent, AB Mariotto, CM Alfano, JH Rowland. Cancer survivors: A booming population. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011;20:1996-2005.

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