Increasing life expectancy and, consequently, the elderly population can lead to an increase in the number of patients with cancerous tumors.
Cancer centers around the world must prepare for a ‘tsunami’ of millions of older cancer patients or health systems risk failingleading doctors warn.
According to a report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), an increase in life expectancy, and therefore in the elderly population, may also lead to an increase in the number of elderly cancer patients. In this context, the conference spoke of “serious concern for the health of the population.” At the annual meeting of ASCO in Chicago, the world’s largest cancer conference, Professor Andrew Chapman, director of the Sydney Kimmel-Jefferson Health Cancer Center, said: “As the population increases and the incidence [раком] is growing rapidly, and we are not ready for it.”
“We know that Cancer is a disease associated with aging and there are several biological mechanisms causing it. What is often overlooked is that the goals, desires, needs, preferences and problems of older people are very different from the pace of life of the average older person. Sometimes there is nihilism like “he is already an old man, he has lived his life, why worry about him ?! It’s terrible,” Chapman added.
“Older patients often prefer maintaining their independence (the usual rhythm of life) rather than finding ways to treat,” continued the professor.
As the Guardian writes: “They are interested in being able to engage in activities such as driving a car, spending time with family and pursuing hobbies. If you are going to give someone a treatment that will deprive them of that, they may not want to. This is very different from the mentality of a 45 year old who wants to live another 40 years.”
Professor Julie Gralow, chief medical officer and executive vice president of ASCO, also said that Health systems must act quickly to avoid being overwhelmed by the ‘explosion’ in older cancer patients. “By 2040, the global burden is expected to rise to 27.5 million new cancer cases and 16.3 million cancer deaths simply by increasing population aging,” he said.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that there were 17 million new cancer cases and 9.5 million cancer deaths worldwide in 2018.