Skin Cancer in the Elderly

January 24, 2005

With the significant increase in the average life-span in the industrial world, skin cancer has become a great health concern. There are various epidemiological, biological and molecular data suggesting that skin cancer is predominantly a disease of the elderly, since approximately 53% of skin cancer-related deaths occur in persons more than 65 years old. With regard to the management of elderly patients with skin cancer, this should be individualized depending upon the clinical performance status, and age alone should not constitute an obstruction for the administration of the optimal treatment. Since elderly patients with melanoma have a worse prognosis, emphasis should be given to primary and secondary prevention. Physicians treating elderly patients should be trained in an individualized approach to these patients and encouraged to participate in programs for the early detection of suspicious skin lesions.

Syrigos KN, Tzannou I, Katirtzoglou N & Georgiou E.

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