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Approximately 60% of people diagnosed with cancer are aged 65 years or older.2 The median age of cancer diagnoses is 65 years; the median age of cancer-related deaths is 73 years.3
Incidence rates of breast cancer, the most common female cancer in the United States, have increased in women aged 50 years and older.4 Women aged 70 years and older are two times more likely to develop cancer than those aged 50 years or younger.
While statistics exist about the anticipated number of cancer survivors in the United States vary, it is estimated that at least 6.5 million survivors are older than age 65 years.5 As the population continues to grow older and life expectancy extends, these estimations have the potential to increase exponentially. According to the CDC, more than half of all invasive cancers occur in individuals aged 65 and older (Table 1).6
The term “older adult” has been defined many ways. Government services arbitrarily designated senior citizen status at age 65 years. The U.S. population of older adults is heterogeneous, accounting for 41.1 million individuals.7 To combat age-related generalization, geriatric specialists have divided this population further into three categories: young-old (aged 65-74 years), old (aged 75-84 years) and oldest-old (aged 85 years and above).