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Cancer’s Effects Felt Most by Older Adults, But Innovation Offers Hope

Published May 21, 2015

"The Silver Book: Cancer" cover.

Alliance for Aging Research Releases New Silver Book® Volume on Cancer’s Impact and the Promise of Advances in Research

Washington, D.C., May 21, 2015 – Today the Alliance for Aging Research released a new volume and factsheet focused on cancer in its Silver Book®: Chronic Disease and Medical Innovation in an Aging Nation series.

Through a collection of exhaustive statistics, facts, and infographics, The Silver Book®: Cancer offers a comprehensive overview of the tremendous burden of this disease and how innovations in medical research, such as personalized medicine and immuno-oncology, can reduce that burden. Available in both a print version and online at, it is the latest edition in the well-respected Silver Book® series that spotlights diseases and conditions that disproportionately impact older Americans and the role that innovation plays to ensure that these diseases do not continue on their current trajectories

(Go here for a press kit.)

While the lifetime risk of developing cancer is around one in two for men and one in three for women, older people shoulder most of the human burden of this disease. Close to 80 percent of all diagnoses are made in people over the age of 55.

“Investing in emerging therapies to reduce cancer is vitally important. In fact, over 80 percent of the gains in life expectancy for cancer patients have been attributable to new treatments. According to researchers at The University of Chicago, if more investments were made into emerging therapies to reduce cancer, a 10 percent reduction in cancer-related deaths in the U.S. could produce an estimated $4.4 trillion in savings to current and future generations,” said Alliance Vice President of Health Programs Lindsay Clarke, J.D. “This new volume supports the need for more investments in innovation so we can reduce the devastating burden of cancer on individuals and their loved ones.”

The Silver Book®: Cancer was unveiled by the Alliance at a Capitol Hill briefing in partnership with the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Clarke and Susan Peschin, MHS, president and CEO of the Alliance offered remarks at the briefing. Daryl Pritchard, Ph.D., vice president of science policy, PMC; Harvey Jay Cohen, M.D., professor of medicine and director, Duke University Aging Center; and well-known speaker, author, and producer Beverlye Hyman Fead also spoke.

“The Silver Book®: Cancer is being released at a time of great transformation in cancer treatment, from one-size-fits-all medicine to a targeted approach utilizing an individual patient’s molecular information,” said Pritchard. “With this Silver Book®, the Alliance for Aging Research brings important information on the burden of cancer and the promise of personalized cancer care to thought leaders and decision makers.”

“The AACR is extremely pleased to be partnering with the Alliance for Aging Research on the release of its Silver Book®, a document focused on bringing to light the human and economic burden of cancer, especially amidst our aging population, as well as highlighting the investments and innovation that are accelerating progress in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer,” said Jon Retzlaff, MPA, MBA, managing director of science policy and government affairs, AACR. “While great progress is being made in the battle against cancer, the facts, statistics, graphs, and data that are included in The Silver Book® effectively underscore the importance for a renewed commitment of federal support for medical research.”

The briefing was also highlighted by a personal account from Hyman Fead who spoke of her experience with cancer. “It is my passion to be able to pass on what I have learned on this life-changing trip,” noted Hyman Fead. “There are so many options in this era in which we live. Look at them closely and don’t stop until you find the right one. It makes all the difference.”

The Silver Book® has become a trusted resource for policymakers and thought leaders interested in public policy that helps older Americans live in better health. The Silver Book®: Cancer was supported by an educational grant from Pfizer. For more information, please contact Noel Lloyd, communications manager, at 202.370.7852 or through email.

About the Alliance for Aging Research
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application in order to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers. Visit for more information.


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