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BMC Cancer  2009 

Rectal cancer treatment and outcome in the elderly: an audit based on the Swedish rectal cancer registry 1995–2004

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-9-68

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We utilized data in the Swedish Rectal Cancer Registry (SRCR) from patients treated for rectal cancer in Sweden in 1995–2004.A total of 15,104 patients with rectal cancer were identified, 42.4% of whom were 75 years or older. Patients ≥75 years were less likely to have distant metastases than younger patients (14.8% vs. 17.8%, P < 0.001), and underwent abdominal tumor resection less frequently (68.5% vs. 84.4%, P < 0.001). Of 11,725 patients with abdominal tumor resection (anterior resection [AR], abdominoperineal excision [APE], and Hartmann's procedure [HA]), 37.4% were ≥75 years. Curative surgery was registered for 85.0% of patients ≥ 75 years and for 83.9% of patients < 75 years, P = 0.11. Choice of abdominal operation differed significantly between the two age groups for both curative and non-curative surgery, The frequency of APE was similar in both age groups (29.5% vs. 28.6%), but patients ≥75 years were more likely to have HA (16.9% vs. 4.9%) and less likely to have preoperative radiotherapy (34.3vs. 67.2%, P < 0.001). The relative survival rate at five years for all patients treated with curative intent was 73% (70–75%) for patients ≥75 years and 78% (77–79%) for patients < 75 years of age. Local recurrence rate was 9% (8–11%) for older and 8% (7–9%) for younger patients.Treatment of rectal cancer is influenced by patient's age. Future studies should include younger and older patients alike to reveal whether or not age-related differences are purposive. Local recurrence following surgery for low tumors and quality of life aspects deserve particular attention.Rectal cancer predominantly affects persons over the age of 50. The annual number of rectal cancer cases diagnosed in Sweden has increased over the last twenty years, mainly due to the increasing age of the Swedish population, a trend that is expected to continue [1,2]. Previous studies indicate that there is less inclination to perform surgery and adjuvant oncological treatment in elderly patients [3-


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