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A progressively ageing population and the high association between advanced age and cancer has resulted in an increased interest in the field of geriatric oncology with the objective being a more effective diagnosis and treatment of these patients. We performed an epidemiological analysis on an intent-to-treat of elderly population within our healthcare unit. This is a retrospective study of all patients attended in our Medical Oncology Department during the year 2002. A total 667 patients were assessed, 42% older than 70 years of age. The most frequent tumour sites were lung, colorectal and breast. The most frequent histology was adenocarcinoma. The diagnosis in advanced stages was significantly higher in older age group (76% vs. 59%). The use of symptom-control follow-up and palliative-care, compared with radio- and chemo-therapy, was higher in older age group. However, we observed no statistically significant differences with respect to inclusion in clinical trials. In conclusion, the elderly represents an important percentage of patients receiving cancer care. The distributions by sites and histology types are similar in both groups of age. Although the election of palliative treatment is more frequent in elderly population, the most frequently used treatments in both groups, were radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We didn't observe any significant differences about the inclusion in clinical trials.

Original publication




Journal article


European journal of cancer care

Publication Date





264 - 270


Servicio de Oncología Médica, Hospital General Universitario de Valencia, Spain.


Humans, Neoplasms, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Palliative Care, Risk Factors, Retrospective Studies, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Spain, Female, Male