Charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer responds to new research that shows there will be more than one million women over 65 living with breast cancer by 2040.
King's College London, recently published in the British Journal of Cancer reveals that by 2040, nearly three-quarters of all breast cancer survivors will be 65 and over, an increase from 59% today to 73% in 2040.
The figures for 2010 were 340,000. That is predicted to rise to 1,220,000 in 2040.
Dr Rachel Greig, Senior Policy Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, says,
“It is startling to think that we could have a million older women living with breast cancer within a generation. It shows that we have a rapidly ageing population – but also that we are getting much better at treating women with breast cancer.
“However, increasingly we should think less about the age of patients, and more about their individual need. This will ensure the best standards of care for women living with the disease.”
The research by King's College London funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.
Older women are currently much more likely to be diagnosed later with advanced breast cancer. They are also less likely to undergo breast conserving surgery as compared to their younger counterparts, and only a small percentage undergo breast reconstructive surgery.
Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
“The NHS needs to take heed of these figures. It is already struggling to provide adequate care for older breast cancer patients. We need to change the way we care for older breast cancer patients now - so that we are prepared for such a dramatic increase in numbers.
“Older people must be provided with the right treatment at the right time at the correct level of intensity."