The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control has sponsored a supplemental issue of The Gerontologist about ways to reduce cancer risk during older adulthood. Several NACDD subject matter experts, including Leslie Best, Randy Schwartz, and Frank Bright contributed to the supplement.
More than two-thirds of all new cancers are diagnosed among adults aged 60 years and older. As the number of adults living to older ages continues to increase, so too will the number of new cancer cases. In 2015, more than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer. By 2030, that number is expected to reach more than 2.1 million.
Cancer is usually caused by many factors over time. This means that even later in life, there may be opportunities to prevent or delay the onset of new cancers. Research suggests that we can do more as a society to reduce cancer risk and preserve health as adults enter their 60s, 70s, and beyond, including efforts to:
- Lower exposures to known causes of cancer in homes, workplaces, and communities.
- Promote social and physical environments that facilitate healthy behaviors and positive attitudes about aging.
- Expand appropriate use of preventive health services at older ages.
- Support health and well-being among informal or unpaid caregivers.
- Improve health communications with older adults to enable their engagement in cancer prevention efforts.
All of the papers are free to view. A short promotional video is available to learn more about the supplement. The authors are experts from many different fields, showing the importance of working together to find effective ways to prevent cancer.