Cancer is a major health concern worldwide. Unfortunately, it’s particularly prevalent among older adults. In fact, age is one of the most significant risk factors for developing cancer. According to data from the National Cancer Institute, approximately half of all cancers are diagnosed in people over the age of 70. Here’s what you need to know.
Among older adults, certain types of cancer are more prevalent than others. The four most common cancers in adults aged 85 and over in the United States are breast, lung and bronchus, prostate, and colorectal cancers.
This is the most common cancer among women, and its incidence increases with age. It is also possible for men to develop breast cancer, although it is far less common. According to the CDC, symptoms of breast cancer may include:
Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for this type of cancer, but non-smokers can also develop lung cancer. Symptoms may include (according to Cancer.org):
This cancer affects both the colon and rectum. It’s common in both men and women, with the risk increasing after the age of 50. According to the CDC, common symptoms may include:
Several factors can influence an individual’s risk of developing cancer as they age. These include:
While not everyone over 70 will develop cancer, the risk does increase with age. Regular screenings and a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in preventing cancer or detecting it at an early stage when treatment is most effective.
Originally published February 12, 2024