Cancer in the elderly: pancreatic cancer

Surg Oncol. 2004 Dec;13(4):201-10. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2004.11.001.


Pancreatic cancer remains a devastating and difficult disease to diagnose and successfully treat. Its incidence increases with age, with 60% of patients being over the age of 65 at presentation. Due to the insidious nature and asymptomatic onset of pancreatic cancer approximately 85% of patients present with disseminated or locally advanced disease resulting in a very poor prognosis. In the past the elderly patient, who may be felt to be too frail for operative procedures or further therapy, may have missed out on optimal treatment. In this article we review the investigation and treatment of pancreatic cancer and examine current evidence with regard to pancreatic cancer in the elderly. The evidence suggests that surgical resection can be performed safely in patients who are fit for surgery in specialist centres but may require more intensive post-operative rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*