The influence of patient age on the diagnosis and treatment of lung and colorectal cancer

Arch Intern Med. 1990 Jul;150(7):1485-90.


We examined the relationship between patient age and medical care received by patients diagnosed with the following two common cancers: non-small-cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Controlling for the influence of sex, marital status, presence of comorbid disease, and socioeconomic status, we found that age was not related to the diagnostic tests ordered for either cancer type. However, lung cancer patients with local disease who were older than age 74 years underwent definitive surgical treatment less often than did younger patients. Few patients at any age (less than 9%) with colorectal cancer did not undergo definitive surgical treatment. Patients with regional colorectal disease who were older than 74 years of age underwent radiation therapy to the abdomen less often than did younger patients. These results add to the growing body of literature suggesting that older cancer patients are less likely to undergo the same type of care received by younger patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging