Elderly patients with colorectal cancer undergo surgery with curative intent less frequently than younger patients, and survival declines with increasing age.
Dr Lene Iversen and colleagues from Denmark considered relative survival of colorectal cancer among patients older than 75 years.
The investigators compared the older patients above 75 years with that of younger patients in Denmark during the period 1977 to 1999.
The investigative team also examined trends in choice of initial treatment.
From the files of the nationwide population-based Danish Cancer Registry, the team identified all cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed.
The investigators then linked the data to survival information obtained from the Danish Register of Causes of Death and from the Central Population Register.
During the entire study period, short-term and long-term relative survival improved for patients of all ages.
|Radical resection was performed on approximately 50% of elderly patients|
|Diseases of the Colon & Rectum|
However, the team noted that the improvement was more pronounced among elderly patients.
The investigators noted that radical resection was increasingly chosen as the initial treatment for elderly patients.
During the 1995 to 1999 period radical resection was performed on approximately 50% of such patients, almost as frequently as among younger patients.
Dr Iversen's team concludes, “Relative survival of elderly colorectal cancer patients above 75 years improved in Denmark between 1977 and 1999.”
“In the most recent period studied, 1995 to 1997, only minor differences in 5-year relative survival were observed among younger, middle-aged, and elderly patients.”
“A simultaneous increase in the rate of radical resection among elderly patients, reflecting more effective treatment, may underlie this finding.”