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Why are new cancer diagnoses emerging at age 65?

Why are new cancer diagnoses emerging at age 65?

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) – A few years ago, Dr. Joseph Shrager, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, was noticed lung cancer diagnoses were significantly higher at age 65 than at slightly older or younger ages.

“There was no reason to change rates a lot between the ages of 63 and 65,” Shrager said.

He discussed it with colleagues because they said they saw something similar.

“We decided to look at this and its broader implications in a larger population,” Shrager said in a Stanford note.

What did they find in the research? A sudden leap cancer This can be the case for Americans over the age of 65 because many older adults delay attention until they have Medicare coverage.

To reach this conclusion, the group analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of patients between the ages of 61 and 69 when they were diagnosed with lungs, breasts, colon or colon in the United States. prostate cancer 2004 to 2016.


Researchers have found that diagnoses of these cancers have increased in the transition from 64 to 65 years than in all other age transitions.

Diagnoses of lung cancer were steadily increasing by 3-4% annually among people aged 61-64, but the percentage doubled by age 65.

The rise was even greater colon cancer. Diagnoses increased 1% to 2% annually in the years prior to the Medicare beneficiary and then dropped to nearly 15% by age 65.

At age 65, diagnostic rates dropped in all cancers, according to a study published in the March 29 issue of the journal Cancer.

They also found that cancer insurance patients over the age of 65 have a higher tendency to have surgery, and that they have a lower five-year mortality rate for specific cancers than uninsured young people.

“Collectively, these results show that Medicare eligibility, an event that coincides with the age of 65, is associated with an increase in early cancer diagnoses and a benefit for survival, ”the researchers wrote.

“Basically, we showed that there is a big leap in cancer diagnoses because people turn 65 and therefore have the right to Medicare,” said Shrager, lead author of the study. “This suggests that many people are delaying their care for economic reasons and until they get health insurance through Medicare.”


Shrager warns that delaying cancer screenings or treatments can affect patients ’chances of survival.

The researchers noted that people between the ages of 61-64 “often do not have insurance as a result of early retirement, they prevent the renewal of pre-existing conditions, the high cost of private insurance and other reasons.”

Between 13% and 25% of adults in this age group do not have insurance or a gap in their medical coverage before they are ever eligible for Medicare.

“If you don’t get proper screening or a quick diagnosis, you’ll have lower cure rates,” Shrager said. “This study highlights the important difference that a Medicare extension can make.”

More information

The American Association for Clinical Oncology has more to offer adults and cancer.

SOURCE: Stanford University School of Medicine, news, March 30, 2021

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