EAKAD JA VÄHK – November 2015

Challenges in the medical treatment of elderly cancer patients

Authors: Kristiina Ojamaa

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Aging has resulted in the emergence of a considerable number of older cancer patients. In the elderly, prognosis and treatment efficacy depend on the cancer phenotype. It is very important to perform comprehensive geriatric assessment in order to prevent possible cancer therapyrelated problems that may affect treatment outcome. According to present evidence, it is not possible to draw conclusions and to find the most appropriate individual approaches to cancer treatment in the elderly, since older people are not recruited into clinical trials. Therefore, elderly patients are mostly treated according to guidelines which are more suitable for younger population. In cases of the worse performance status and significant co-morbidities, it may be needed to modify doses and treatment regimens. Overall survival of elderly cancer patients is low. The reasons of it should be extensively studied and addressed.