Background: The number of cancer patients and cancer survivors will increase in Germany due to demographic change and advances in medicine. Objective: The current article presents a description of cancer epidemiology in the elderly. What are the most common cancers, what is the prognosis and what are the temporal trends of incidence and mortality of older cancer patients? Materials and methods: Data on incidence, mortality and 5‑year relative survival were obtained from the interactive database of the Center for Cancer Registry Data. Data cover the years 1999–2016. Absolute number of cases, age-group-specific rates, and relative proportions for cancer overall and in the five most common diagnostic groups are reported differentiated by sex and by four age groups (AG; 40–64, 65–74, 75–84, 85+ years; survival: 45–54, 55–64, 65–74, 75+ years). Results: About 38% of all new cases in women and about 37% in men occur in the very old (AG 75–84 years) and oldest (AG 85+) groups. The predominant cancer entities in the higher age groups include cancer of the breast, prostate, colorectum, lung, endometrium, pancreas, urinary bladder and stomach. Prognosis after cancer depends on type of cancer, sex and age at diagnosis. It varies over a wide range (5-year relative survival < 5% for pancreatic tumors and > 90% for breast, prostate, malignant melanoma of the skin). Conclusion: Not only the number of cancer patients and survivors will increase, but also the requirements in primary care and tertiary prevention.

Titel in ÜbersetzungEpidemiology of cancer in the elderly
ZeitschriftBest Practice Onkologie
Seiten (von - bis)586-597
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 12.2021

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Profilbereich: Zentrum für Bevölkerungsmedizin und Versorgungsforschung (ZBV)
  • Profilbereich: Lübeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Zentren: Universitäres Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


  • 205-01 Epidemiologie, Medizinische Biometrie/Statistik
  • 205-02 Public Health, medizinische Versorgungsforschung, Sozialmedizin
  • 205-14 Hämatologie, Onkologie


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