Rational Approach to Cancer in the Elderly

  • Frédérique Retornaz
  • Maud Cécile
  • Howard Bergman


In an era of an aging population with increased age-related cancer incidence, clinicians should expect that they will have to care for an ever growing number of elderly cancer patients. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second most common cause of mortality in people aged over 65.

Whether at the screening, diagnosis, or treatment stage, there remains suboptimal treatment of cancer in the elderly. In most cases, the life expectancy of an elderly patient is often underestimated by the family and the physician. Underestimating the potential impact of cancer and life expectancy can expose an elderly patient to a high risk of loss of autonomy and of deterioration in the quality of life.

Colorectal cancer treatments are usually standardized but elderly patients may harbor multiple comorbidities, poor health status, geriatrics syndromes, and loss of functional reserve that will interfere with the treatment of the cancer itself. Optimizing these, complex patient relies on an accurate prediction of outcomes. Till today, no standardized assessment can be recommended. Studies are ongoing to find the best screening tools, best geriatric assessment, and best interventions especially in the setting of surgery.


Colorectal Cancer Elderly Patient Life Expectancy National Comprehensive Cancer Network National Comprehensive Cancer Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédérique Retornaz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maud Cécile
    • 3
  • Howard Bergman
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Unité de coordination en oncogériatrie (UCOG)Centre Gérontologique DépartementalMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.EA3279. Evaluation des Systèmes de Soins – Santé PerçueUniversité de la MéditerranéeMarseilleFrance
  3. 3.Unité pilote de coordination en oncogériatrie (UPCOG)Institut Paoli CalmettesMarseilleFrance
  4. 4.Division of Geriatric MedicineJewish General HospitalMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Solidage Research Group on Integrated Services for Older Persons, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, Jewish General HospitalMontrealCanada

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