Estimated global cancer incidence in the oldest adults in 2018 and projections to 2050

Sophie Pilleron*, Enrique Soto-Perez-de-Celis, Jerome Vignat, Jacques Ferlay, Isabelle Soerjomataram, Freddie Bray, Diana Sarfati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Using GLOBOCAN estimates, we describe the estimated cancer incidence among adults aged 80 years or older at the regional and global level in 2018, reporting the number of new cancer cases, and the truncated age-standardised incidence rates (per 100 000) for all cancer sites combined for this age group. We also presented the five most frequent cancers diagnosed by region and globally among females and males aged 65 to 79 years old and 80 years or older. We, finally, estimated the number of new cancer cases in 2050, the proportion of cases aged 80 years or older, and the proportional increase between 2018 and 2050 by region, by applying population projections to the 2018 incidence rates. In 2018, an estimated 2.3 million new cancer cases (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) were aged 80 years or older worldwide (13% of all cancer cases), with large variation in the profiles at regional levels. Globally, breast, lung and colon were the most common cancer sites diagnosed in the oldest females, while prostate, lung and colon were most frequent in the oldest males. In 2050, an estimated 6.9 million new cancers will be diagnosed in adults aged 80 years or older worldwide (20.5% of all cancer cases). Due to the complexity of cancer management in the oldest patients, the expected increase will challenge healthcare systems worldwide, posing a tangible economic and social impact on families and society. It is time to consider the oldest population in cancer control policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-608
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • aged
  • cancer
  • epidemiology
  • incidence
  • older adults


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