Experts expect a further increase in the number of cancer patients due to the demographic trend. The number of new cancer cases per year is expected to increase by about ten per cent between 2014 and 2025 to around 523,000, said the German Society for Hematology and Medical Oncology (DGHO) in Berlin.
According to the study, the largest increases in patient numbers will be those that are common in old age – prostate and colorectal cancer in men and breast and colon cancer in women. The number of people living with cancer and those with chronic comorbidities such as diabetes or dementia will also rise sharply in Germany, as the study shows.
Among other things, this development requires, among other things, better supply structures in the countryside. Specialists for the care of cancer patients are “still sown sparsely”. Although the number of oncologists has increased, at the same time, the medical profession faces a strong wave of retirement.
As the DGHO study shows, a disproportionate number of older people, and therefore also cancer patients, are living in rural areas, said Maike de Wit of the Hematologists and Oncologists’ Association in the hospital. The expertise of the specialized centres must also be made available in the area, “if we do not want to risk those whole areas of land or old people in the cancer care be suspended.” For the study prepared by the University Medical Center Greifswald, data sources such as population registers and epidemiological cancer registries were evaluated.