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Conclusions & Further Reading - Chapter 06

Chapter 06 - Radiotherapy in the Elderly Cancer Patient


Historically, elderly cancer patients were considered to tolerate aggressive radiation protocols less well based on increased toxicities observed in early clinical trials. Recent improvements in radiotherapy techniques and delivery, have significantly reduced side effects. There is currently no clear evidence for treating elderly patients generally different from younger ones.

The available data on normal tissue tolerance to radiotherapy in the elderly strongly suggest that those with good functional or PS can tolerate modern schedules comparably to younger ones. As a consequence, more intensive radiotherapy techniques with curative intent should not be withheld from patients based on their numerical age alone.

However, in the individual patient, clinically significant comorbidities may sometimes hamper intensive treatment protocols and lead to decisions for more palliative and less aggressive approaches.

Further Reading

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