Focusing on Older Cancer Patients: A Clinical Need and a Research Necessity

April 7, 2010

NCI Bulletin

People age 65 and older represent approximately 60 percent of cancer patients and account for 70 percent of annual cancer deaths. As the U.S. population continues to age, these percentages will only continue to grow in the coming decades...

“We really need to ask ourselves, if the majority of cancer patients are 65 and older, why have we structured oncology science and care to be a set of systems that is focused on younger patients and views the majority as a minority?” asked Dr. Sarah Kagan, a clinical nurse specialist and geriatric oncology researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center. For instance, she continued, cancer clinical trials typically include few older patients and mostly those without other significant illnesses. “That’s not real life in an aging society,” Dr. Kagan said... read more