Family Support for the Older Cancer Patient
As the population ages, the number of older adults with cancer continues to grow. In the United States, 60% of all malignancies occur in persons aged 65 to 95 (1,2) and the median age of diagnosis is 68 years (3). Higher mortality rates from cancer have been reported in older adults; death rates from cancer for people older than 75 may be two times higher than for those aged 65 to 74. In addition, changes in the older patient’s physical, emotional, socio-economic, and cognitive function (4-7) may complicate cancer treatment, making disease and symptom management for older adults more challenging.