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Cancer. 1994 Oct 1;74(7 Suppl):1995-2003.

Cancer in older persons. Magnitude of the problem--how do we apply what we know?

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  • 1Office of the Director, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD 20892-2292.

Abstract

The elderly experience the major impact of cancer. The incidence rate for those aged 65 and older is 2085.3 per 100,000 as compared with 193.9 per 100,000 for those younger than 65. Overall, 58% of all cancer incidence is in the older segment of the population. Cancer mortality in the elderly now accounts for 67% of all cancer deaths. Data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program for 1985-1989 reveal many salient facts. Older persons have a risk of developing cancer 10 times greater than that for individuals younger than 65. This paper outlines the magnitude of the major cancers that affect the elderly. Incidence and mortality data are presented according to individual tumors (colon, rectum, lung/bronchus, pancreas, stomach, urinary bladder, breast, ovary, and prostate). Demographic data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census focus on the expanding elderly population in the United States and projections for the future. Needs for cancer care and treatment for the elderly, already great, are likely to increase. It is imperative that older persons receive special attention for cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment efforts, especially because there is almost always an overlay of other chronic diseases and age-associated declines concurrent with the diagnosis of cancer in the elderly. This paper highlights issues unique to older persons as individuals at high risk for cancer and suggests research strategies that should be made in anticipation of the even greater cancer burden for the elderly as this subset of the population expands.

PMID:
8087762
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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