Posted online April 29, 2009, on www.jco.org. 
The total number of Americans diagnosed with cancer each year will rise from 1.6 million cases in 2010 to 2.3 million cases annually by 2030, with disproportionate increases among the elderly and minorities says a new study by researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In a report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers project an anticipated 99 percent rise in cancer incidence for minorities (330,000 to roughly 660,000 cases) and a 67 percent rise in cancer incidence for patients age 65 years and older (1.0 million to 1.6 million cases). In contrast, a 31 percent increase is projected for non-Hispanic whites (1.3 million to 1.7 million cases) and an 11 percent increase is anticipated for patients under the age of 65 (630,000 to 670,000 cases).
The increase among minorities breaks down as follows:
- 142 percent for Hispanics of any race;
- 132 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders (non-Hispanic);
- 101 percent for multi-racial (non-Hispanic);
- 76 percent for American Indian-Alaska Native (non-Hispanic);
- 64 percent for blacks (non-Hispanic).
In this study, researchers calculated cancer incidence rates for the U.S. population using data from the National Cancer Institute's cancer registries. The projections through 2030 were then calculated by multiplying the U.S. Census Bureau's population projections by the current cancer incidence rates. Because cancer incidence rates have remained relatively constant since the late 1990s, researchers predict that they will continue to be stable until 2030.
This is the first study to report in a comprehensive fashion on the impact of population changes on future cancer incidence rates. However, researchers note that the study is limited in its ability to account for future changes in cancer screening, prevention, and other risk factors, such as tobacco use.
What This Means for Patients
This study not only focuses on current cancer patients, but future cancer patients as well. While rates will be higher among the elderly and minorities, all demographics will experience significant increases in cancer incidence between 2010 and 2030. It is important that all Americans manage their diet and other risk factors and undergo cancer screenings as recommend by their doctor.