Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Med Sci. 2014 Jul;348(1):65-70. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0000000000000281.

Age-specific cancer incidence rates increase through the oldest age groups.

Author information

Department of Medicine and Neurology (JPT, JLV), University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky; and Department of Epidemiology/Biostatistics (BJM), University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.



In the United States, from 2005 to 2009, nearly 8% of all cancers diagnosed and 15% of cancer deaths occurred in individuals aged 85 years and older (85+ age group). With the aging of the U.S. population, an analysis of incidence of cancer in the elderly population may provide information for clinical care and resource allocation.


Previously reported data were retrieved from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) 18 Registry for years 2000 to 2010 and Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) for years 2004 to 2008. Cancers included invasive cases only, except for nonmalignant meningiomas, and rates were per 100,000.


The age-specific cancer incidence rate (IR) increases with age until a decrease in the 85+ age group. IR for all cancers combined for this age group was 2,317 per 100,000. Statistically, males had significantly higher IR compared with females (3,194 versus 1,911 [P≤0.0001]). Blacks had an IR similar to whites (2,255 versus 2,340 [P=0.12]). Despite a drop in the overall IR in this oldest age group, IR for certain cancers continued to increase. Among these cancers, gastrointestinal cancers like colorectal, pancreatic and stomach had the highest incidence and mortality rates.


This study contributes to measuring cancer burden in the oldest old population. In certain cancers, including meningiomas, the IR continues to rise with advancing age. Management of cancer in elderly is challenging and screening persons in the 85+ age group for frailty very thoroughly may help guide decisions of palliative versus aggressive therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center