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Introduction: Information regarding rectal cancer surgery outcomes and survival benefits in the elderly is sparse. Radical rectal surgery can be associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. We investigated age-specific survival for patients undergoing radical rectal surgery to determine outcomes in elderly patients Methods: Over a 10-year period data on all patients who underwent rectal cancer surgery was performed. Patients were grouped according to age and eight other variables including cancer stage (Duke’s/TNM). Data analysed using computer program R. Kaplan–Meier survival curves estimated for age groups and compared using a modified log-rank permutation test. Survival curves fitted using Cox proportional hazard models and hazard ratios obtained Results: About 374 patients underwent surgery. Survival percentages at 1 year by age group are 91.3% for age <50, and 75.5% for age >80. At 5 years these are 87.0% for age <50 and 57.1% for >80. Overall the variation among the survival curves for the age groups is significant (p 80 year olds in the first post-operative year. This study highlights that care must be taken in deciding whether radical surgery should be offered to those patients and careful consideration is given to allow the best overall survival and quality of life.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta Chirurgica Belgica

Publication Date





282 - 288