Cancer in Older Persons: An International Issue in an Aging World
Persons age 65 years and older bear the greater burden of cancer in the United States and other industrial nations. A cross-national perspective using data from several population-based resources (eg, the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program; US Bureau of Census; World Health Organization; and International Association for Research on Cancer) illustrates current and future demographic transitions in America in comparison with six industrial nations, and profiles cancer mortality in older persons across the selected nations--Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and United Kingdom. Mortality rates, age-standardized to the world population, are presented for major tumors. US aging and cancer profiles are highlighted. Demographic projections portend a substantial increase in numbers of older persons, and thus, imply resultant increases in cancer incidence and mortality in the elderly. By 2030, there will be larger proportions of persons in the age group most vulnerable to cancer. Information is needed on how age-related health problems affect cancer prevention, detection, prognosis, and treatment. A knowledge base as guidance in management of cancer in the elderly is lacking. Planning for effective prevention measures and improvement of treatment for the elderly is imperative to meet current and future quality cancer care needs.