Last week I had a consultation with an older gentleman who is 84 years old. Interestingly, the role of age in the treatment of colon cancer has changed. During my training in Germany in the nineteen eighties when someone came in with metastatic cancer and was older than 65, we rarely gave chemotherapy because we were afraid to make those patients sicker than cancer did.
We have a perception that when someone is old we should be much more gentle and we should adapt treatment not only using less aggressive chemotherapy cocktails but also lower doses.. These perceptions go back to the history of chemotherapy when chemotherapy drugs made most patients very sick and weak. With less toxic chemotherapeutic therapies and much better drugs against nausea and vomiting, our perception needs to be reevaluated. Read the rest of this entry »