Managing elderly with colorectal cancer
The aging population is an increasing healthcare concern in developing countries. In Singapore, 25% of the local population are expected to be older than 65 years old by 2030. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is ranked third most diagnosed cancers worldwide with up to 1.8 million new cases diagnosed in 2018. 60% of newly diagnosed CRC are among patients who are 70 years or older and hence majority of these patients will invariably face challenges with frailty and multiple comorbidities that require appropriate assessment and stratification. The standard of care in patients with stage I or II CRC is surgery with curative intent. For patients with stage III CRC, upfront surgical resection of tumor along with adjuvant chemotherapy is the internationally recommended treatment approach. As for those patients with metastatic disease, they are usually managed within a multidisciplinary team and considered for surgical resection if deemed feasible. Elderly patients are mostly burdened with frailty, functional dependency and existing co-morbidities, all of which are predictors of early postoperative mortality and morbidity in patients with CRC. This article thus aims to review existing evidence to discuss the intricate decision-making process for the surgical management of elderly patient with CRC.