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Cancer diagnosis for one in four older people by 2040

20th August 2012

The charity Macmillan Cancer Support has warned that almost a quarter of older people will have had a cancer diagnosis by 2040.

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And it forecasts that the number of people aged 65 and over who will be cancer survivors is set to triple from 1.3 million in 2010 to 4.1 million.

The charity funded research by King’s College London which was published on the British Journal of Cancer’s website and revealed that the biggest rise will be in the oldest age groups, with survivors of breast and prostate cancer forming the largest groups.

Some 23% of older people will have had a cancer diagnosis by 2040 compared with 13% in 2010, say the researchers, with men living with cancer up from 2.8% in 2010 to 6.2% in 2040, and from 3.9% to 8.5% of women.

Other forecasts see lung cancer in older women showing the biggest increase - from 319 to 831 cases per 100,000 - but a fall in cases in men.

Professor Henrik Møller from King’s College London said: “The research shows that large increases can be expected in the oldest age groups in the coming decades and with this an increased demand upon health services.

“It is vitally important therefore, that careful plans are laid so that resources exist to meet the needs of cancer survivors in the future.”

The charity’s chief executive Ciarán Devane said: “These stark predictions should act as a warning to the NHS and social care providers of the problems ahead if older cancer patients are not offered the best treatment and support.”

 

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