Editorials

Chemotherapy in elderly patients with resected stage II-IIIA lung cancer

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4104 (Published 14 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4104
  1. Béatrice Fervers, head of unit
  1. 1Centre Léon Bérard, University of Lyon, 69008 Lyon, France
  1. fervers{at}lyon.fnclcc.fr

Age alone is not a contraindication to treatment

As a result of increasing life expectancy, the number of lung cancers in elderly people is rising—most cancers occur in patients over 65 years, with a median age at diagnosis of about 70 years. In the linked study (doi: 10.1136/bmj.d4013), Wisnivesky and colleagues compare outcomes in elderly patients with stage II-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with and without postoperative platinum based chemotherapy.1

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide. In 2008, 391 000 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in Europe, and lung cancer was responsible for a fifth of the total number of deaths from cancer.2 Despite the declining use of cigarettes in many Western countries, lung cancer rates continue to rise in women. In several European countries, including the United Kingdom, lung cancer has become the most common cause of cancer related deaths in both sexes.2The treatment of elderly patients with NSCLC presents special challenges for clinicians. The development of comorbid conditions and the proportion of patients who present with poor performance status increase notably between 70 and …

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