Background: The incidence of colorectal cancer rises disproportionally in aging persons. With a shift towards higher population age in general, an increasing number of older patients require adequate treatment. This study aims to investigate differences between young and elderly patients who undergo resection for colorectal cancer, regarding clinical characteristics, morbidity, and prognosis.
Methods: By retrospective analysis of 6 years (2007 to 2012) of a prospectively documented database, a total of 636 patients were identified who underwent oncological resection for colorectal cancer at our institution. Of this total, all 569 patients with primary colorectal adenocarcinoma were included. Four hundred ten patients were 74 years or younger and 159 were 75 years or older. The median follow-up was 22 months.
Results: Older patients had significantly more comorbidities (85 % vs. 56 %, p < 0.001) and a higher ASA score (p < 0.001). The mean length of stay in the hospital was longer (24 vs. 20 days, p = 0.002), as was the length of postoperative intensive care stay (4 vs. 2 days, p = 0.003). However, elderly patients did not have significantly higher rates of intraoperative complications or surgical morbidity. Tumor-specific 2-year survival was 83 ± 4 % for the elderly and 87 ± 2 % for the younger patients, which was not significantly different (p = 0.90).
Conclusions: Long-term outcome after oncologic resection for colorectal cancer does not differ between elderly and younger patients. Age in general should not be considered as a limiting factor for colorectal cancer surgery or tumor-specific prognosis.