Commission of the European Communities "Europe Against Cancer" Programme European school of oncology advisory report cancer treatment in the elderly

S. Monfardini, M. Aapro, L. Ferrucci, V. Zagonel, P. Scalliet, I. Fentiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Within the EC approximately one million cases of cancer are diagnosed every year. At present, more than 55% of cancers occur in subjects aged over 65 years. There has been little clinical attention to the problem of neoplasia in the elderly. They are not receiving the same standard of specialised oncological care as younger patients. Other diseases (co-morbidity conditions) associated with cancer, and influencing its treatment and outcomes are not being properly considered. Information on surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy in younger patients exists for all cancers and could be adapted for the elderly. Controversial aspects of neoplasia in the elderly concern the intensity of chemotherapy, extent of surgery and the relative roles of specialised cancer centres, community hospitals and primary care providers. Future research should aim to replace subjective opinions on presence of frailty with objective instruments such as the multidimensional geriatric assessment scale. New trials could then seek to improve treatment in well-defined populations in terms of both efficacy and quality of life. Funding priorities should firstly consider that clinical trials for tumours in the elderly must be organised from cancer institutes and specialised referral centres in collaboration with geriatricians, primary care and community hospital physicians. Continuing education of doctors should be supported. A document such as this with appropriate modifications might be used as an initial message on neoplasia in the elderly to be published for information to clinicians and the public throughout Europe. Specific measures of quality assurance need financial support to evaluate the improvements in patterns of care. The 10 points of the 'Europe Against Cancer Guidelines' need reemphasising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2325-2330
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Cancer Research


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