The coming three decades could see the number of older cancer patients increase three-fold, according to new research.
The findings of a study backed by Macmillan Cancer Support show that while 1.3 million over-65s had cancer in 2010, this figure could rise as high as 4.1 million by 2040.
Almost one in four retirees could be given cancer diagnoses in 2040, the study also warned.
A research team from King’s College London said that the anticipated rise in cancer cases among the elderly could stem from factors like increasing cancer survival rates, the UK’s ageing population, and an increase in the number of cancer occurrences.
One of the authors behind the study, Professor Henrik Mollersaid, stated: “The aim of this research is to provide long-term projections of cancer prevalence in the UK. The research shows that large increases can be expected in the oldest age groups in the coming decades and, with this, an increased demand upon health services.”
Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciaran Devane added: “The care of older cancer patients is the ticking time-bomb for society.
“These stark predictions should act as a warning to the NHS and social care providers of the problems ahead if older cancer patients are not offered the best treatment and support.”