Every year in the UK, about 360,000 people are diagnosed with cancer, out of which about 130,000 or 36% are 75 years old or older. According to a recent report by Cancer Research UK, by 2035, the number of people aged 75 or over diagnosed with cancer will increase to 234,000 or 46% of all cases.
The main factor behind such a dramatic rise of cancer cases in elderly is the aging population of the UK. As we get older, the cells in our body are more prone to damages and mutations, therefore the risk of cancer increases. The charity says that even though the survival rates are twice as high as they were 40 years ago, they haven’t raised significantly when it comes to elderly.
Problems that elderly cancer patients have to face
Cancer Research UK reported that one of the reasons of higher mortality rate amongst elderly cancer patients is the lower standard of care they receive during a treatment. According to the charity, older people are less likely to get all the necessary treatment, such as surgery or chemotherapy. The next obstacle for elderly is that they are not always provided with the support they require, as they have more complex medical and social needs. In the future it could be even harder for them, as the workforce shortages will likely put pressure on the NHS to favor younger patients.
The reaction of the government
In order to change the situation of elderly cancer patients for the better, earlier this week the government announced an increase of the health system funding by £20.5bn per year until 2023. A 10-years long plan will also be introduced, charging the NHS with the task of improving the treatment of cancer patients. According to Cancer Research UK, the health service has to start making preparations for an increased number of elderly patients with cancer.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.