Cases of cancer in elderly to rise considerably by 2035

New research from Cancer Research UK has revealed that the number of older people diagnosed with cancer every year could rise by up to 80 per cent to nearly a quarter of a million by 2035.

The charity’s figures show that approximately 130,000 people aged 75 and over in the UK develop cancer every year and this is projected to rise to around 234,000, largely due to an ageing population, by 2035.

Advancing Care, Advancing Years: Improving cancer treatment and care for an ageing population, published by Cancer Research UK, urges the health service to act now to ensure they are prepared for the rising numbers of older patients with more complex needs, with findings showing that cancer survival rates are lower among older people who are more likely to be diagnosed in an emergency and less likely to receive curative treatment.

Rose Gray, Cancer Research UK’s policy manager, said: “If we do nothing the disparity in care between older and younger cancer patients will only grow. It’s vital to address this if we want to realise our ambition of ensuring world-class treatment for everyone in the UK who is affected by cancer.

“It’s also highly likely that this group will be the hardest hit by wider pressures facing the NHS, including severe workforce shortages. While the additional investment announced this week is welcome, it falls short of what is likely to be needed to truly transform the way that patients are cared for. For 70 years, the NHS has been at the forefront of fighting cancer. But we need more investment in staff to give the best possible treatment and care for older cancer patients, both now and in the future.”

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