Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Britain is a country where more and more old men, live longer to be told more and more often : "You have cancer".

The death of our parliamentary sketch writer, Simon Hoggart,
see : http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/britain-is-no-longer-country-for-old.html
within three years of having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, serves as a reminder that cancer remains one of the biggest killers of old men in Britain and Cancer Research UK has just released figures which show the number of, mostly old men and women, being diagnosed with cancer each year has increased by 50,000 over the past decade and :

* that, although the increase is primarily because they are living longer, the fact that they are drinking and eating more explain why alcohol and obesity are also playing a part  the rise in the numbers.
* the number of diagnoses has inceased from 283,000 cases in 2001 to over 331,000 in 2011, mostly as a result of living and surviving longer, rather than succumbing to infectious disease and a greater likelihood to survive after heart attacks and strokes..

* alcohol consumption in old men is responsible for 4% of their cancers in the mouth, upper throat, food pipe and voice box as well as the more common bowel and liver cancers.
See : Britain is a country where more and more old men drink more and more in their old age http://britainisnocountryforoldmen.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/britain-is-country-where-more-and-more.html

* obesity in old men increases the risk of a number of different cancers, including bowel, oesophageal, pancreatic, kidney and gallbladder.
See : Britain is a country with more and more fat, sick old men

Dr Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK said :
"These figures reinforce the vital need for more research to better prevent, treat and cure cancer. As the population ages, more people than ever before will be told: "you have cancer"."
At the same time it is not all bad news :  the chances of surviving cancer have also risen as prevention, diagnosis and treatment have improved, with survival rates doubling in the past 40 years with, in the 1970s, a quarter of cancer patients surviving for 10 years, rising to close to half by 2007.

So, thanks to improved treatment and earlier diagnosis, old men and women now live, on average, for six years after being diagnosed, compared with just one in the 1970s. However, this creates extra cost for the National Health Service with more of them needing treatment for cancer and re-occurring tumours as well as for the drugs themselves. In addition, radiotherapy and chemotherapy can cause lifelong complications including heart problems, lung disease, immobility, depression and bone-thinning.

Macmillan Cancer Support has warned that, the numbers of old man and women living longer with cancer or its after-effects set to grow from 2 million to 4 million by 2030, will add further expense to the National Health Service. Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Research said :
"We are concerned that the National Health Service will simply not be able to cope with this surge in demand for its services. There needs to be a fundamental shift towards proper aftercare, with more care delivered in the community and better engagement with cancer patients in their own health so that no one is left to face cancer alone."

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