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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2003 August;58(4):515-22

language: Italian

Surgical treatment for colorectal cancer in patients over 80 years. Short and long term results

Capra F., Scintu F., Zorcolo L., Casula G.


Aim. To determine the results of elective surgical treatment for colo-rectal cancer in the elderly.
Methods. A total of 746 patients were consequently operated on in elective conditions for colorectal cancer. Patients were divided into 4 groups, according to patient's age: Group A=>=80; Group B=70-79; Group C=60-69; Group D=<=60.
Results. Between older patients there was a higher percentage of right colon cancers (A: 26.3%; B: 13.9%; C: 16.6%; D: 20.6%) and stage D tumors (A: 34.4%; B: 28.3%; C: 21.4%; D: 26%), explaining the greater proportion of palliative surgical treatment in this group of patients (A: 34.7%; B: 28.2%; C: 28.6%; D: 25.7%). There were no differences in term of morbidity (A: 12.6%; B: 9.2%; C: 5.1%; D: 6.4%), mean hospital stay (A: 18.9±16.2 days; B: 17.2±15.8; C: 15.2±8.6; D: 16.8±21.8) and postoperative mortality (A: 3.1%; B: 2.3%; C-D: 0.4%); on the contrary, survival curve in group A was significantly shorter than in the other groups.
Conclusion. Advanced age is not per se a negative prognostic factor and consequently does not represent a contraindication to surgery. In fact, long-term results have been proved to be similar both in young and old patients. Nevertheless, elderly patients have a lower capacity to react to postoperative complications; this needs an accurate evaluation of single patient, considering different parameters such as disease stage, possibility of cure or palliation, quality and expectancy of life.

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