The incidence of most types of cancers is age-dependent and progressive ageing is rapidly increasing the number of elderly people who need treatment for cancer. It is an ethical dilemma how aggressive one should be when it comes to treating cancer in the older population. Presumed fear of increased postoperative morbidity and mortality often results in delivery of sub-optimal cancer surgery. A careful evaluation of the general and organ-related conditions of the patients is absolutely necessary for planning the right treatment. Nevertheless, preoperative removal of risk factors and postoperative rehabilitation are as important as the use of the best techniques of anaesthesia and surgery to achieve good postoperative outcomes in these patients. In this review article we take into consideration physiology of the aged and tools available to assess surgical risks in elderly patients, in the aim of increasing awareness on optimising surgical management of elderly patients with cancer. MEDLINE and EMBASE.com (search terms: "elderly", "preoperative", "surgery"), bibliographies of articles retrieved and the authors' reference files have been used as data sources. Independent extraction has been performed by the authors using predefined criteria, including study quality indicators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research