London–A British study has found that the number of elderly women living with breast cancer is set to quadruple by 2040.

Experts say there will be over a million women aged 65 and over with the disease within a generation. They warn that the National Health Service already struggling to cope with the number of older patients with the disease must adapt if it is to stave off a major crisis, Daily Express reported.

Figures released by King’s College in London, published in the British Journal of Cancer, show there are currently 340,000 older women with the disease out of the 570,000 patients of all ages.

This will quadruple to 1,220,000 in 2040, out of a total of 1.68 million breast cancer sufferers, according to research funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.

By 2040, three in four of all breast cancer survivors will be 65 and over — an increase from 59 percent today. The predicted increase for older women is almost double the rise for younger age groups.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “The NHS is already struggling to provide adequate care for older patients.” IANS