Lung Cancer in the Elderly

  • Nages Nagaratnam
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
  • Gary Cheuk
Reference work entry


Lung cancer is characterised as cancerous growth in the lungs which may be primary, originating from the lung cells, or secondary, metastatic from another source. In the United Kingdom, the peak incidence of lung cancer is between 75 and 80 years of age. Between 30% and 45% of all lung cancers are diagnosed in patients older than 70 years. Many of the symptoms in the elderly are non-specific such as fever and loss of weight and often attributed to co-morbid illnesses. Paraneoplastic phenomena associated with certain types of tumour may be the first indication of lung cancer. In evaluating mediastinum, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the chest is somewhat equal to that of CT but is generally superior in determining chest wall or vertebral body involvement. The treatment of lung cancer will very much depend on the cell type, the extent of spread and the patients’ performance status. Commonly, treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Treatment outcomes in the elderly are largely influenced by the presence of co-morbid conditions, and the elderly have the highest rates of co-morbidities, age-related decline in organ function and the ability to tolerate treatment.


Lung cancer Mutation of KRAS proto-oncogenes Paraneoplastic phenomena Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) TNM staging system 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nages Nagaratnam
    • 1
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
    • 1
  • Gary Cheuk
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of SydneyWestmead Clinical SchoolWestmeadAustralia
  2. 2.Rehabilitation and Aged Care ServiceBlacktown-Mt Druitt HospitalMount DruittAustralia

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