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Opportunities for Cancer Prevention During Older Adulthood

Monday, June 19, 2017   (0 Comments)

The CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) organized the Cancer Prevention Across the Lifespan workgroup to foster innovative public health approaches to cancer prevention. DCPC formed a partnership with NACDD on a project to identify opportunities for cancer prevention during older adulthood. The goals of the project were to conduct a series of targeted literature reviews and convene an interdisciplinary group of invited experts and CDC staff to discuss opportunities for cancer prevention during older adulthood.

In April, NACDD and CDC convened 17 national experts to discuss topics such as ageism,  caregiving, demographic changes,  mental health, multiple chronic conditions, quality of life, and survivorship. After each expert presented information on a factor related to cancer the group discussed the relationship of that risk and/or protective factor to cancer prevention. NACDD presented the preliminary results of a literature review for 19 cancer risk-related factors that are relevant during older adulthood. The review excluded cancer risk factors already being addressed by DCPC and occupational hazards addressed by other federal groups, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The results of the review highlight areas for cancer prevention in older adults. Ageism by health care providers and others impacts the delivery of care.

The growing population of older adults affects the health care system and families. Family members, the older partners of aging people, and those dealing with chronic conditions are becoming regular caregivers. The number of people with multiple chronic conditions is increasing. As people age, there are additional issues related to health literacy and informed decision. The number of cancer survivors is growing, increasing caregiver needs and straining community services. Guidelines for cancer survivorship emphasize enabling physical activity, good nutrition, access to smoking cessation services, and other key aspects of health promotion.

Older adults' health risk behaviors and environments may have an impact on cancer related issues. The literature reviewed supports a focus on certain areas such as promoting good nutrition and physical activity, enhancing screening, and attention to issues such as daily functioning, quality of life, and pain

A writing workgroup  that includes NACDD consultants,  interested experts, and  CDC, will develop a supplement for submission to The Gerontologist. A meeting participant wrote about her reaction to the meeting in a blog post at the "Huffington Post." 

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National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
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