Age is a calculation of completed units of time. Age is considered as an epidemiological risk factor for cancer development. It has been found that the incidence of cancer is increasing with increasing age. Therefore, clinical experts often considered that cancer is an age-related disease.
Complex biological processing is associated with aging. But it is not always the truth that age-associated diseases only occur at an older age. Aging is a natural biological process. Many elderly people with the longest survival do not develop cancer at an older age. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that aging is a pathology for cancer progression.
Some biological mechanisms involved in the aging process may also contribute to cancer pathogenesis. It has been assumed that modification of environmental factors that trigger the biological mechanism involves in the aging process can not only alter the rate of the aging process but also be delayed cancer onset or prevent this disease.
Aging can be a risk factor for some specific types of cancer. The estimated median age of cancer diagnosis is 66 years. This estimated age limit helps to understand that half of the cancer patients are below this age whereas half of the cancer-affected population is older than this limit. One-fourth of new cancer cases are diagnosed in between the 65 to 74 age range.
It has been found that the median age for diagnosis of breast cancer is 61 years, prostate cancer is 66 years, colorectal cancer is 68 years and lung cancer is 70 years. However, it is necessary to mention that cancer can occur at any age with one-fourth of bone cancer incidence detected among the population under 20 years of age, whereas 10% of leukemia cases are detected among children and adolescents under age 20 years. However, children and adolescents under age 20 years can only contribute 1% of the total cancer diagnosis. But neuroblastoma is a cancer that mainly occurs among children or adolescents compared to adults.
A recent research finding reported that cancer prevention strategies like restricted smoking limited alcohol consumption, and avoid exposure to environmental carcinogens at midlife help to reduce cancer incidence among older adults. In most adults, cancer does not have to be an inevitable consequence of growing older.