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Surge in older cancer survivors expected as baby boomers age
Date:12/10/2008

STORRS, CT The United States could be faced with a national health care crisis in the coming decades as the country's baby boomer population ages and a growing number of older adults find themselves diagnosed with and living longer with cancer.

That is the position of a team of researchers from across the country who believe current prevention measures, screening, treatments, and supportive care for older patients at risk of or dealing with cancer are lacking in the US.

In a special supplement issue of the international journal Cancer being released this month - Aging in the Context of Cancer Prevention and Control: Perspectives from Behavioral Health Medicine the researchers say there is an urgent need for clear, evidence-based practice guidelines to assist physicians, oncologists and others who provide short- and long-term care management to older adults with cancer.

Only with more immediate research will proper prevention efforts, screening, treatment approaches, post-treatment survivorship and end of life care be put in place to serve this rapidly growing population, the experts say.

Consider these facts:

  • More than 60 percent of all malignant cancer diagnoses in the U.S. occur in people age 65 or older.
  • There are an estimated 6.5 million adults age 65 or older currently living with a history of cancer in the U.S.
  • That number will only go up as the country's baby boomer population ages and the number of men and women age 65 and older currently about 36.8 million doubles by the year 2030.
  • Approximately 43 percent of these older men and women with cancer are expected to survive for 10 years or more and approximately 17 percent survive for 20 years or more after their initial diagnosis.

"The coalescence of three factors has the potential to create one of the biggest public health problems our country has faced in decades," said Keith M. Bel
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Contact: Colin Poitras
colin.poitras@uconn.edu
860-486-4656
University of Connecticut
Source:Eurekalert

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