Cancer in Older Adults

  • William H. Ward
  • Efrat Dotan
  • Joshua E. Meyer
  • Nestor F. Esnaola
Living reference work entry


The management of cancer, often considered a disease of the elderly, is becoming an increasingly common challenge for surgeons and oncologists caring for older adults. As the geriatric population has grown, so too have opinions and standards as to what constitutes an appropriate treatment approach in the elderly cancer patient. Not surprisingly, oncology treatment regimens in elderly populations have become increasingly individualized. When applying these tailored, treatment paradigms to elderly cancer patients, a crucial consideration is whether the benefits of a proposed cancer treatment outweigh their perceived risks within the context of patients’ residual life expectancy. In some circumstances, optimal implementation of these tailored approaches may require deviation from treatments that would otherwise constitute standard of care in younger patients of similar cancer and stage. As such, a strong working knowledge of the nuances involved in the preoperative assessment of the elderly cancer patient, as well as alternative treatment strategies, is crucial for surgeons caring for these patients to ensure optimal perioperative and postoperative decision-making, care, and outcomes.


Elderly Cancer Life expectancy Decision-making capacity Goals of care Comprehensive geriatric assessment Surgery Radiation Chemotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • William H. Ward
    • 1
  • Efrat Dotan
    • 2
  • Joshua E. Meyer
    • 3
  • Nestor F. Esnaola
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Surgical OncologyFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Medical OncologyFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Radiation OncologyFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marcia McGory Russell
    • 1
  • Zara Cooper
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryDavid Geffen School of Medicine at the University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Ariadne LabsBostonUSA

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