There are almost 14-million cancer survivors in the United States and the population is growing. Almost two-thirds of these survivors are age 65 or older. Given this, it is imperative to understand the impact of cancer and its therapies on the aging process.
Childhood cancer survivors, diagnosed with cancer at age 21 or younger, particularly females, have rates of frailty similar to rates in older adults. This phenomenon appears to start early, suggesting an aging phenotype. Frailty among childhood cancer survivors increases risk for chronic disease and mortality.
Adults diagnosed with cancer are faced with the effects of cancer and its therapies compounded by the issues of multiple morbidities that occur with the typical aging process. Intervention studies to date have focused on smoking cessation, diet, and exercise, as well as improving rates of late effects surveillance in childhood cancer survivors. No intervention studies have specifically addressed the issue of frailty or multiple morbidities in cancer survivors. Concerted efforts must continue to create and disseminate survivorship care plans to all cancer survivors.
Source: Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2014:e423-30. doi: 10.14694/EdBook_AM.2014.34.e423.