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More than half of all people born in 1960 will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to new research.
"This new estimate replaces the previous figure, calculated using a different method, which predicted that more than one in three people would develop cancer at some point in their lives," notes a press release from Cancer Research UK, which supported the study and publicized the findings. "The increase in lifetime risk is primarily because more people are surviving into old age, when cancer is more common," it adds.
For people born in 1960, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is 53.5% for men and 47.5% for women, according to the calculations of Peter Sasieni, PhD, from the Centre for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom, and colleagues.
Compared with people born in 1930, that is an increase of 15% for men and 11% for women.
Most of the increase was seen in the older age groups. The findings show that more than half of the cancers that make up this lifetime risk are diagnosed in people older than 70 years.
In fact, the findings reinforce the association between cancer risk and the aging population, the researchers say.
"Cancer is primarily a disease of old age, with more than 60% of all cases diagnosed in people aged over 65," Dr Sasieni said in a statemen
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AICR estimates that about 1/3 of the most common cancers in the US could be prevented if Americans moved more, weighed less and ate more healthfully. Add in not smoking and avoiding sun damage, and that’s nearly half of U.S. cancers that don’t have to happen.