Treating and caring for an ageing population

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Cancer Research UK supports GPs to deliver best practice. We have created a central resources hub for Health Professionals which hosts all of our CRUK resources and further materials to help with managing the pandemic. We are updating the information as guidance changes. There is also a page specifically for patients on our about cancer hub.

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Get in touch with our policy team to find out more information about our work and our policies.

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Every year around 130,000 people aged 75 and over in the UK get cancer. By 2035 this is projected to rise to around 234,000, largely due to an ageing population.

Despite cancer survival doubling over the last 40 years, it’s still lower among older people, who are more likely to be diagnosed in an emergency and less likely to get many types of treatment.

This combination of facts highlights the urgent need for older patients, who are more likely to have multiple health conditions or need help from social care, to be given better support.

In our report, we call on cancer services to act now, to make sure they are prepared for the rising numbers of older patients with more complex needs.

This includes ensuring staff have enough time to spend caring for patients, better assessments to help make the right decisions about the best treatments, and better evidence of how medication affects older patients.

Through this research, we sought to understand the specific needs of older patients, and to explore the process of clinical decision-making for older people with cancer across the UK.

This research was conducted by the University of Birmingham’s Health Services Management Centre and ICF International. In the policy briefing, the research is presented alongside relevant findings from other recent CRUK research and our own statistical analysis.

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