Older Cancer Survivors in US Escalating in Numbers

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Older people with ages 65 years old and over who have cancer or family history of which has been noted with a radical increase in numbers according to the data gathered by the US cancer surveillance team, and it is still on the rise for the next ten years.

Dr. Julia Rowland and colleagues have found out that there will be an increase in numbers of older cancer survivor in US amounting to 42 per cent in the next ten years to come.

Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth. There are over 100 different types of cancer, and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected. Cancer can be the effect of a genetic tendency that is inherited from family members. It is possible to be born with certain genetic mutations or a fault in a gene that makes one statistically more likely to develop cancer later in life.

“Cancer is largely a disease of aging, so we’re seeing yet another effect of the baby boom generation and we need to prepare for this increase,” Dr. Julia Rowland, director of NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, explained.

Data coming from the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program which were analyzed by Rowland and colleagues suggest that by year 2020, there will be an increase of 63 per cent in the number of cases from an increase of 60 per cent in the year 2008; the figures were nearly 12 million augmentation from the number of past cases. In addition, most commonly diagnosed cancer cases for the males include prostate cancer tantamount to 20 per cent of the cases. For the females breast cancer which is about 22 per cent of diagnosed cases is the most common. It was also noted in the analysis of the results that the increase in survivability rate of diagnosed cancer patients was due to early detection and screening and prompt intervention.

With these results, the health care team is facing a dilemma of the increasing demand for cancer treatment, considering that oncologist and geriatric specialists are not enough in numbers to accommodate the dramatic rise in number of older cancer patients.

“Improved survival and population aging converge to generate a booming population of older adult cancer survivors, many of whom have multiple complex health conditions and unique survivorship needs. This demographic shift has important implications for future health care needs and costs of the US population.” Dr. Rowland said as her conclusion.

According to the American Cancer Society, survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. Many other factors may affect a person’s outlook, such as the Gleason Score, the PSA, and the patient’s overall health. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers below may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.

According to the most recent data, for all men with prostate cancer, the relative 5-year survival rate is nearly 100% and the relative 10-year survival rate is 91%. The 15-year relative survival rate is 76%. Keep in mind that 5-year survival rates are based on patients diagnosed and first treated more than 5 years ago, and 10-year survival rates are based on patients diagnosed more than 10 years ago. Modern methods of detection and treatment mean that many prostate cancers are now found earlier and can be treated more effectively. If you are diagnosed this year, your outlook may be better than the numbers reported above.

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