gms | German Medical Science

80th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

20.05. - 24.05.2009, Rostock

Treatment and management of cancer in the elderly

Meeting Abstract

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 80. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. Rostock, 20.-24.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09hnod434

doi: 10.3205/09hnod434, urn:nbn:de:0183-09hnod4348

Published: April 17, 2009

© 2009 Milisavljevic.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Aim: As the average life span has increased, the number of elderly patients with cancer has increased. One of the greatest dilemmas in the menagement of cancer in the elderly is the fact that often regular curative treatment cannot be executed.

Material and Methods: The clinical records of the 3.722 patients were reviewed in terms of the executioion of regular curative treatments, concomitant health problems, and outcome of the treatments. During the period investigated, we used a team practice in management of head and neck cancer.

Results: From this viewpoint 3.722 patients with head and neck cancer treated during a recent 10 years period was reviewed. They were classified into two age groups: those younger than 70 years and those 70 years and older. In the groupe older than 70 years we have 650 male and 176 operated female, in the groupe of patients younger than 70 years we have operated 2.435 male and 455 female. The major reasons why curative treatment could not be executed was concomitant health problems and failure to obtain the patients consent, and these problems were significantly more common in the older group. The incidence of asthma, pulmonary emphysema, cardiac failure, hypertension, arrhythmia, cerebrovascular disease, and kidney failure was greater in the older group.

Conclusion: Age is not a contraindication to cancer treatment: We show that older patients who are in reasonable health tolerate surgery including the risks of operative and perioperative mortality and comlications as well as younger patients. With appropriate caution, older individuals had benefit from cytotoxic chemotherapy to the same extent as the younger patients.