Cancer Death Rate Declines, Impact On Long-Term Care Need

A steady decline in overall cancer death rates among America’s aging adult population will create added stress on the long-term care needs of seniors.

Medical advances and better lifestyles among the aging population appears to have saved 898,000 deaths from cancer between 1990 and 2007.  According to the latest statistics presented today by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, this is both good and bad news for the primary targets of cancer – senior citizens. 

“When you live a long life, the risk of needing costly long-term care services is great,” explains Jesse Slome, AALTCI executive director.  “When you live a longer life, the risk and cost will be even greater.  More Americans will need home care and nursing home care services.”

Progress in the survival rate of those once impacted by cancer has not benefited all segments of the population equally.  According to researchers, cancer death rates for individuals with the least education are more than twice those of the most educated. 

Cancer death rates according to the American Cancer Society are still declining in the U.S., but some are declining faster than others — and cancer remains the leading cause of death for Americans younger than 85.

In it’s yearly report they estimated that 1,596,670 new cancer diagnoses and more than 570,000 cancer deaths are expected to occur this year. 

Slome shared that death rates fell by about 22% for men and 14% for women between 1990 and 2007. Since the early 2000’s, the decline has been 1.9% a year in men and 1.5% each year in women.  Better early detection and better treatment as well as reduced tobacco use over the past half-century that helped turned the tide in cancer-related deaths.

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