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Increase in Older Cancer Survivor Population Anticipated

Older cancer survivors estimated to increase from 60 percent in 2008 to 63 percent by 2020

THURSDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Based on current cancer incidence and survival trends and U.S. population projections, there is likely to be an increase in the population of older adult cancer survivors in the future, according to a study published in the October issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Carla Parry, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues investigated the combined impact of the growing number of cancer survivors and population aging on cancer survival in the future. Data for cancer incidence and prevalence were collected at state or metro-area level from nine registries. The prevalence of cancer in 2008 was estimated by the complete prevalence method. Assuming flat cancer incidence and survival trends, but dynamic U.S. population projections, prevalence data through 2020 were projected by the Prevalence, Incidence Approach Model method.

The investigators found that the estimated number of cancer survivors as of January 2008 was 11.9 million. Nearly 60 percent of them were aged 65 years or older in 2008, and it was estimated that 63 percent of cancer survivors would be 65 years or older by the year 2020.

"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 U.S.," the authors write.

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