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Nagoya J Med Sci. 2012 Aug;74(3-4):241-51.

Postoperative function following radical surgery in gastric and colorectal cancer patients over 80 years of age--an objection to "ageism".

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Department of Perioperative Medical Care, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan.



With rapid growth in the elderly population, the number of elderly cancer patients who should be offered life-prolonging radical surgery has been increasing. The aim of this report is to demonstrate the outcome of elective radical surgery for gastric or colorectal cancer patients 80 years of age or older, including the natural course of recovery of functional independence, in order to avoid the negative attitude held toward surgery that is due only to patients' high chronological age.


Physical condition, ADL, and QOL of 108 patients 80 years of age or older with gastric or colorectal cancer were evaluated preoperatively and at the 1st, 3rd, and 6th postoperative months.


There were no operative deaths, and the morbidity rate was 27.9%. Only 6% of the patients showed a decrease in ADL at the 6th postoperative month. This decrease typically occurred following discharge from the hospital. Patient QOL showed recovery to an extent equal to or better than average preoperative scores.


Of the patients who underwent elective surgery for gastric or colorectal cancer, only a few showed a protracted decline in ADL, and most exhibited better QOL after surgery. Surgical treatment should therefore be considered, whenever needed, for elderly patients 80 years of age or older with gastric or colorectal cancer.

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