Department of Aging and Iranian Research Center on Aging, The University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran E-mail: Roshanizahra@yahoo.com
Presently, the world population of the elderly is growing. By improving health hygiene and welfare indicators, mortality and birth rates decrease and life expectancy increases, making the present century the century of elderly. Aging is one of the main risk factors for development of cancer, which itself is the second cause of death in old people. This study was conducted to assess the prevalence of cancer in the elderly covered by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) insurance program and to obtain suitable programs for cancer screening and early detection, increase patient survival, improve elderly care and to reclaim the cost of treatment in comparison to the national and international statistics. This is a cross-sectional study conducted on all elderly patients diagnosed with malignancy based on their pathology reports. In this study, of the total 75,500 patients covered by IRIB insurance, 17.2% belonged to the elderly group, males accounting for 53.3%. The most common cancers in old men were prostatic cancer (61.3%), colon cancer (10.3%) cancer of the hematologic system, bladder cancer (9.6%), lung cancer (9.1%), thyroid cancer (3.9%) and brain tumors (1.3%). In the elderly women, the most common cancers were breast cancer (80.1%), colon cancer (5.1%), thyroid cancers (4.4%), bladder and hematologic system malignancies (3.6), lung cancer (2.9%) and brain tumors (0.7%). In addition, the prevalence of cancer was almost the same as national and international statistics. With the exception of non-melanoma skin cancer no difference was shown in prevalence of cancer between IRIB elderly patients and the other groups of cancer patients in Iran.