Why do we need to have a Congress on the older patients?
To answer the question above, we need to comprehend that the demography of proportion of the population aged 65 years or over will change dramatically over the next 20 years. There will be rapid increase from 737 million in 2009 to 2 billion by 2050. Furthermore, 64% of the world’s older persons live in less developed regions and by 2050, 79% will do so.
We are aware that cancer is primarily a disease of old age. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), 60% of the newly diagnosed malignancies are found in people over the age of 65 years. The same group accounts for 70% of the deaths. Overall, the elderly are 10 times more likely to get cancer and 15 times more likely to die from cancer than people under the age of 65 years. The projections stated by WHO, that because of increase in cancer incidence, cancer mortality will increase to 12 million people by the year 2030. Since cancer treatment has become more effective, the number of cancer survivors and the prevalence of cancer in the population will also increase.
Hence its very timely that we are holding this first Asian Congress on Older patients under the auspices of SIOG. The above congress will be held in Kuching from 22-23rd January 2011. This will be the first time this congress is held in Asia with speakers from Europe, USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Various topics on cancer in the older patients, assessment, and treatment of some of the common cancers, hematological cancers and nutrition are discussed at this congress. The main intent is to create awareness amongst the health professionals on the importance of managing this population who often go “unnoticed”, being under treated. Our hope is that those who attend this congress will realize the level of under treatment that is currently occurring in our own places and take measures to improve that status. Every small step taken by each individual will have a big impact.