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November 6, 2013

Improving the Quality of Cancer Care in an Aging PopulationRecommendations From an IOM Report

Author Affiliations
  • 1City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California
  • 2New Cortland Center for Transitions and Health, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia
  • 3Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development and Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA. 2013;310(17):1795-1796. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280416

Findings from the recently released report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Improving the Quality of Cancer Care: Addressing the Challenges of an Aging Population, titled Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a Course for a System in Crisis,1,2 underscore that the United States has entered a new era in cancer care. The complexity of challenges that US society will confront in achieving the quality of care and outcomes individuals seek and deserve have been magnified because cancer is now an integral part of the aging phenomenon. As the earliest wave of baby boomers enters Medicare, cancer is diagnosed at a higher rate (53%), accounts for a higher percentage of survivors (59%), and results in more deaths among individuals 65 years and older (68%), compared with younger individuals.3,4 With 10 000 individuals reaching age 65 years each day, the incidence of cancer is expected to increase by 67% among this population from 2010 to 2030.5 Unquestionably, this major shift in demographics further complicates the crisis in cancer care. As members of the aforementioned IOM Committee, we highlight issues unique to the older adult population that will substantially affect the capacity to effectively implement the committee’s proposed roadmap.1

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