Cancers Among the Oldest Old in Massachusetts from 2004-2014

Describing the burden of cancer in the oldest old (those aged ≥85 years at diagnosis) is important, as the growing elderly population in Massachusetts lives to older ages.

Incident cases of invasive cancer in Massachusetts from 2004-2014 were provided by the Massachusetts Cancer Registry. The incidence of cancer among the oldest old was compared with the population aged 65-74 years and 75-84 years. Joinpoint regression was used to assess trends in the rates of the most common cancers in the oldest old population.

In Massachusetts from 2004-2014, 7.4% of incident cancers in men and 10.2% of incident cancers in women were diagnosed in people aged ≥85 years. The cancer with the highest incidence among the oldest old was lung cancer among men (473.7 cases per 100,000) and breast cancer among women (347.0 cases per 100,000). From 2004-2014, there were statistically significant annual decreases in prostate cancer and colorectal cancer among the oldest old men and women, as well as lung cancer among oldest old men and breast cancer among oldest old women. The oldest old were more likely to be diagnosed at a distant stage of prostate and breast cancer than people diagnosed at ages 65-74 years and ages 75-84 years.

The oldest old population in Massachusetts has a different burden of cancer incidence than the general population, including high incidence and more distant-stage disease. Informing public health departments and practitioners of the common cancers in the population 85 and above is important to improve cancer care in this high comorbidity population.

Journal of registry management. 2018 Jan [Epub]

Erin Cook, Susan Gershman, Richard Knowlton

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