An increasing number of rectal cancer patients are elderly and have comorbid medical diseases.
In this study, doctors from Finland assessed morbidity, mortality, and survival after rectal cancer surgery in patients younger 75 years and in patients aged 75 years or older.
The team included 294 patients with rectal cancer were admitted to the Fourth Department of Surgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, between 1980 and 1997.
Of these, 32% were aged 75 years or older.
The team found that major curative operation was possible in 59 of 95 patients in the elderly group and in 147 of 199 patients in the younger age group.
|30-day mortality was 2% in older patients.|
|Diseases of the Colon and Rectum|
They found that complications occurred in 34% of patients in the older age group and 27% in the younger age group.
The 30-day mortality was 2% in older patients and 0% in younger patients.
The doctors determined that 5-year crude survival was significantly lower in the older age group.
However, 5-year cancer-specific survival and disease-free, five-year survival were similar in both groups.
Dr Jaana Vironen and colleagues, "Major, curative, rectal cancer surgery in selected elderly patients can be performed with similar indications, perioperative morbidity, and mortality, as well as 5-year, cancer-specific and disease-free survival as in younger patients".