As we grow older, the need grows for us to focus on health care. This is especially true for cancer care, as the chances of developing cancer increase in our senior years.

As of 2022, there are nearly two million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. Although anyone can develop this disease, the risk of cancer is 11 times higher in adults over the age of 65 than it is in younger people. Additionally, over the last three decades, the incidence of cancer in older adults has increased by 26% while only increasing by 10% for younger people.

As an older adult, you have certain characteristics that may increase your risk of side effects from cancer treatment or make it more difficult to treat certain cancers. Many seniors have chronic diseases—including heart disease and diabetes—that could make some treatments riskier than others. Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia may have difficulty remembering to take their medications or attend medical appointments, making their treatment plans less effective.

The following guide explains how a cancer diagnosis is likely to affect your options for senior care. Following a discussion of some of the most common barriers to cancer care, we’ll outline the most common senior care options and offer tips for choosing the right type of care for you or a loved one.

Anna Margarita
Community Outreach
Assisted Living Research Institute