A new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention finds that more than half of cancer survivors in the U.S. are over the age of 65.
Researchers from the Office of Cancer Survivorship in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) looked at data from the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, which reports the rates of cancer survival.
They found that in 1971, there were approximately 3 million cancer survivors, while in 2008's data there were 12 million. Of those 12 million, 60 percent of them were 65-years-old or older. NCI predicts that this number will increase to 63 percent by 2020.
"We can expect a dramatic increase in the number of older adults who are diagnosed with or carry a history of cancer," said lead researcher Julia Rowland. "Cancer is largely a disease of aging, so we're seeing yet another effect of the baby boom generation and we need to prepare for this increase."
Aside from making sure a loved one stays healthy to ward off cancer as they age, installing a medical alert system may also help keep them safe. This device allows seniors to age in place while having a safety net should they fall.