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Aging, Changing Nation Will Affect New Cancer Diagnoses

Last Updated: April 30, 2009.

Demographic changes in which older adults and minorities account for an increasing share of the population are expected to result in a soaring number of cancer cases in the next 20 years, according to a study released during a media telebriefing and published online ahead of print April 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Demographic changes in which older adults and minorities account for an increasing share of the population are expected to result in a soaring number of cancer cases in the next 20 years, according to a study released during a media telebriefing and published online ahead of print April 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Benjamin D. Smith, M.D., of the Lackland Air Force Base in Houston, and colleagues used the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database to calculate current demographic-specific incidence rates and Census Bureau data to predict cancer incidence through 2030.

The researchers estimated that cancer incidence will increase from 1.6 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2030, primarily because of expected increases in the older-adult and minority populations to 72 million and 157 million, respectively. They projected that cancer incidence will increase by significantly higher rates in older than in younger adults (67 percent versus 11 percent) and in minorities than in whites (99 percent versus 31 percent).

"Optimal cancer treatments for older and minority patients remain to be defined, and design of future clinical trials should consider these impending changes," the authors conclude. "Within a broader perspective, renewed governmental interest in health care reform should include a substantial focus on the elderly, minorities, and the medically underserved in order to address structural causes of unequal cancer care and to promote development of the national health care infrastructure needed to provide skilled and timely cancer care to even the most vulnerable segments of our population."

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