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Cancer diagnosis for the elderly set to rise

Cancer diagnosis for the elderly set to rise

Cancer, its’ causes, the way it is diagnosed and its’ associated charities are never out of the press.  Recently we hear that the number of elderly people in the UK diagnosed each year with cancer is set to rise by 80% in less than 20 years.

The report from Cancer Research UK estimates that by 2035 about 234,000 over-75s will get cancer each year - up from 130,000 now.  The charity also said the elderly were more likely to have multiple health conditions, leading to later diagnoses.

It called on the health service to prepare now for the rise in older patients with "complex needs".

Is our NHS ready for this?

We hear all the time that the NHS cannot cope with outbreaks of flu in the winter and dehydration in the summer amongst the elderly – illness that although serious, is readily treated and is not complex.

The government has responded by saying that cancer is a "priority" and the prime minister had just announced increased funding for the NHS.

We are all at risk of developing cancer but we are told that we can minimise that risk by making sensible lifestyle choices but the risk of developing cancer increases as we get older because the cells in our body often become damaged as we age.

One thing is certain and that is – we are all getting older.  This means that all of us will be at increased risk as we get older.  The report goes on to say that while cancer survival rates have doubled over the past 40 years, they were lowest among the elderly.

Older people with cancer are more likely to have complex medical and social needs, which can make it harder for them to receive the best treatments and will undoubtedly put a strain on resources if this is not carefully considered.

Cancer risk – the statistics:

  • One in two people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime
  • A person's risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors
  • About four in 10 UK cancer cases every year could be prevented
  • Smoking is the largest cause of cancer in the UK

Melanie Lidstone-Land, Chartered Legal Executive and Head of Clinical Negligence at Swain & Co says,

 “The statistics are frightening.  It is traumatising enough to be given a Cancer diagnosis but not being able to access appropriate treatment for your physical and psychological needs makes things far worse.”

Melanie Lidstone-Land and the Clinical Negligence team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly win compensation for their clients who suffer as a result of medical mistakes and late diagnosis.  If you, a family member or a friend suffer from an industrial disease contact our team today on 0800 0351 999.

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