Jun 22, 2018

The number of elderly diagnosed with cancer set to surge 80%

There will be a steep rise in the number of people diagnosed with cancer every year due to the ageing the population, according to new research.

By 2035, up to 80 per cent more people could be diagnosed with cancer every year, according to new research from the UK.

The huge increase is largely attributed to the ageing population.

Every year in the UK, 130,000 people over the age of 75 are diagnosed with cancer. That number is expected to rise to 234,000 by 2035, according to the research by the University of Birmingham’s Health Services Management Centre and ICF International.

Although cancer survival rates have doubled over the last 40 years, rates are still quite low for older patients, who are more often diagnosed in emergency presentations and less likely to receive treatment to attempt to cure their cancer.

Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda, told HelloCare she expects similar trends here in Australia.

“We expect to see a similar trend in terms of increasing numbers of older Australians being diagnosed with cancer as the baby boomers generation ages. Cancer is a disease of aging and as Australians live longer more people will be impacted by cancer.

“Cancer Council Victoria researchers have estimated that the number of Australians living with or beyond cancer will surge by 72% by 2040. Adults over 70 will make up the majority (58%) of Australians who will be living with a personal history of cancer by 2040.

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Source: Cancer Council.

Professor Aranda said that because more older people will have cancer, more people will be coping with cancer as well as other illnesses, such as diabetes, and heart disease.

“Many older cancer survivors will be living with the long-term effects of cancer and its treatment alongside other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, that will together substantially impact the quality of their survival.”

“As well as educating Australians on how they can reduce their risk, this is a good reminder of the importance of early detection and screening programs. Health services will also need to evolve to care for older Australians with cancer, who may also have a number of other chronic diseases,” she said.

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