chapter  11
24 Pages

Lung Cancer in the Elderly

BySabrina M. Witherby, Steven M. Grunberg

Lung cancer holds a unique but contradictory position among the solid tumors. Although not the most common tumor in terms of incidence or prevalence, the tendency toward a more advanced stage at presentation as well as the short median survival (MS) of patients with this tumor has made lung cancer a particularly lethal problem. In fact, lung cancer has long been the leading cause of cancer death in men, and, since 1987, has also been the leading cause of cancer death in women. Although the incidence of lung cancer is stable in women and decreasing in men, it remains the number one cause of cancer-related mortality in men older than 40 and in women older than 60 years in the United States. With the growth and aging of the population, both the relative and total numbers of elderly patients with lung cancer are expected to rise significantly (1).