Background: Prolongation of survival and maintenance or improvement of health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) are the two important goals within the treatment of individual patients. Due to the severity of symptoms and the toxicity of treatment, HRQoL has become a major area of concern when treating cancer patients in general and elderly patients in particular.
Patients and methods: We present a literature review of HRQoL aspects in elderly patients with cancer and especially address the topic whether impairments in the different tools of a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) are associated with decreased HRQoL in elderly cancer patients.
Results: Elderly cancer patients tend to weight their HRQoL as more important than gain in survival, when compared to younger patients. An age-dependent decrease in different scales of HRQoL is reported in patients and normative samples. HRQoL is also a predictor of survival. The variation of HRQoL can be used in trials comparing different treatment options. In individual patients, regular measurement of HRQoL aims to improve patients-centred care. Age related impairments of different areas of CGA are associated with decreased HRQoL in elderly cancer patients.
Conclusions: HRQoL is an important outcome with elderly cancer patients and should be assessed regularly and thoroughly.