U.Va. researchers expect the growth rate of new cancer cases to accelerate
University of Virginia researchers say an aging population will cause an increase in new cancer cases outpacing the growth of the commonwealth’s population during the next 25 years.
U.Va.’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service said the greatest number of new cancer diagnoses is projected to occur in the major metropolitan areas, where most Virginians live. Nonetheless, rural areas with many older residents will shoulder the biggest cancer burden. A higher proportion of their populations are expected to be diagnosed with cancer during the next three decades.
Researchers note that nearly 80 percent of cancers occur among people who are 55 or older. As that population grows, they say, cancer cases are expected to rise.
Using population projections for the commonwealth and its localities, and known rates of cancer diagnosis by age from the Virginia Cancer Registry, the Cooper Center’s Demographics Research Group prepared projections for the number of new cases of breast (in females), prostate (in males) and lung cancers, as well as a combined category called “all cancers” for each decade through 2040.
Pending funding, the Demographics Research Group will develop additional projections for Virginia of incidence of other cancer types, and of deaths from cancer over the three decades in this report. In addition, three-decade projections of cancer incidence and deaths for the nation overall and for the 50 states can be developed, if funding is available.
The Cooper Center expects these projections will be helpful to health care providers, insurance companies and state and local governments.