When cancer grows old initiative

As Cancer in Older People Increases, so do the Challenges to Help Them Live Longer, Fuller Lives

The world’s population is aging more quickly than ever before. By 2050, the number of people over 60 is expected to double. People with cancer are also growing older. Approximately 37% of new cancer cases around the world are diagnosed in people older than 70,2  and this number is predicted to more than double by 2040.3  This staggering trend will place a significant burden on individuals, families, communities and healthcare systems worldwide. 

Our multiyear When Cancer Grows Old™ initiative is intended to address the challenges of cancer and aging. We are collaborating with the global cancer community of advocates, healthcare providers and others around the world to find solutions and create change so that aging patients with cancer have the best possible chance to grow old.

When Cancer Grows Old Program Trailer Video

Aging people with cancer and their families often face inconsistent treatment and prevention guidance,4,5,6 additional health problems that require customized care,4,7  and lack of access to customized information, resources and post-treatment support.7,8,9 

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Sanofi Is Committed to Solutions

Throughout 2020 and beyond, Sanofi will be working to advance customized solutions for aging people with cancer throughout all stages of the disease.

We continue to collaborate with our partners around the world to inspire advocates and healthcare providers to identify the solutions needed to support older people with cancer, and their families, in unprecedented ways. 

A Global Response to Cancer and Aging

As part of a multiyear collaboration we are working with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise awareness and advance understanding and inform discussions on age-inclusive cancer programs. As part of this, Sanofi is proud to support a Special Focus Dialogue on Cancer and Aging, which launched in June with a discussion on how to adapt patient care in the context of COVID-19. Recently, Sanofi’s Peter Adamson, Global Head, Oncology Development & Pediatric Innovation, also shared his perspective on why there is a need to improve outcomes for those living with cancer. To read his blog click here.

The Intersection of Innovation and Healthcare 

Sanofi is a proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) 2020 Hacking Medicine Grand Hack. Each year MIT Hacking Medicine brings together a diverse mix of attendees from around the world who have an interest and passion for healthcare innovation. 

Sanofi has sponsored two hackathon tracks, one focused on cancer and one on aging, with the goal of generating innovative ideas that may help address gaps in care for people living with cancer.

To learn more about MIT Hacking Medicine’s Grand Hack click here

A Study to Define Policy Gaps

We commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit to identify policy gaps around cancer and aging and quantify the scope of pressing needs. The report, Cancer and Ageing: Policy Responses to Meeting the Needs of Older People, explores existing policy framework, drawing on experience and findings from key experts across Europe, Japan and the U.S. The report provides key considerations for societies to better respond to the unique challenges older people with cancer face across their patient journey.

Click here to learn more.

The Time for Change Is Now

The challenges faced by aging people with cancer will only escalate if societies do not have the will or the ways to address these gaps across the patient care experience. Now is the time to bring together the best thinking and resources from around the world to create a ripple effect of change and action.



1 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). World Population Ageing 2017 - Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/397).
2 Globocan. Global Cancer Observatory Cancer Tomorrow. World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer Website. 2018. http://gco.iarc.fr/tomorrow/graphic-isotype?type=0&population=900&mode=population&sex=0&cancer=39&age_group=65%2B&apc_male=0&apc_female=0. Accessed on 26 Nov, 2019.
Globocan. Global Cancer Observatory Cancer Tomorrow. World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer Website. 2018. http://gco.iarc.fr/tomorrow/graphic-line?type=0&population=900&mode=population&sex=0&cancer=39&age_group=65%2B&apc_male=0&apc_female=0. Accessed on 26 Nov, 2019.
Pilleron, S., Sarfati, D., JanssenHeijnen, M., Vignat, J , Ferlay, J., Bray, F. and Soerjomataram, I. (2019), Global cancer incidence in older adults, 2012 and 2035: A populationbased study. Int J Cancer, 144: 49-58. doi:10.1002/ijc.31664.
Bareket, R., Schonberg, M. A., Comaneshter, D., Schonmann, Y., Shani, M., Cohen, A. and Vinker, S. (2017), Cancer Screening of Older Adults in Israel According to Life Expectancy: Cross Sectional Study. J Am Geriatr Soc, 65: 2539-2544. doi:10.1111/jgs.15035
Ebell, M.H., Thai, T.N. and Royalty, K.J. (2018), Cancer screening recommendations: an international comparison of high income countries. Public Health Rev, 39(7). doi:10.1186/s40985-018-0080-0
Cope, D.G. (2006), An Evidence-Based Approach to the Treatment and Care of the Older Adult With Cancer. Chapter 1: Cancer and the Aging Population. https://www.ons.org/sites/default/files/publication_pdfs/Evidence%20Based%20Practice_Older_Adult_CHAPTER_1.pdf
Baitar, A., Buntinx, F., De, T., Deckx, L., Bulens, P., Wildiers, H. and Van, M. (2017), The utilization of formal and informal home care by older patients with cancer: a Belgian cohort study with two control groups. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1): 644. doi:10.1186/s12913-017-2594-4
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Psychosocial Services to Cancer Patients/Families in a Community Setting; Adler NE, Page AEK, editors. Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2008. 1, The Psychosocial Needs of Cancer Patients. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK4011/.


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