Age Alone Should Not be a Reason for Older Adults to Rule Out Cancer Surgery

Researchers recently examined the Preoperative Risk Estimation for Onco-Geriatric Patients (PREOP) to might predict how older adults fare following cancer surgery. PREOP scores can be useful for helping surgical oncologists and other physicians discern which patients might be high-risk following surgery.  They found that age alone should not be a reason for older adults to rule out surgery to cure or treat cancer.Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers analyzed patients aged 70 years or older who had surgery for suspected cancerous solid tumors. Medical centers that participated in the PREOP study collected additional information on survival for up to five years after a patient’s surgery. The patients in the study were followed for about 4.5 years after their surgery. Overall,  survival rate after surgery was:

  • 84% survived 1 year after surgery.
  • 77% survived 2 years after surgery.
  • 56% survived 5 years after surgery.

According to the results, of who were alive one year after surgery, 26% moved to an assisted living facility or a nursing home, and by two years 46% of the study population moved to a care facility or had died. Survival at one year after surgery was worse for patients with a high PREOP risk score, compared with a normal PREOP risk score. However, the researchers observed that the PREOP risk score could not predict whether patients were at an increased risk of needing to be cared for in a health facility or institution.


“It is imperative to discuss treatment goals and expectations preoperatively to determine if they are feasible. Using the PREOP risk score can provide an objective measure on which to base decisions,” the research authors wrote in conclusion.