Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in North America and most commonly affects older patients. Patterns of investigation and treatment in older individuals differ, which may compromise outcome. Older patients should be carefully evaluated, using comprehensive geriatric assessment, to assess for function, functional reserve, comorbidities, polypharmacy, and other issues. Fit patients with few or no comorbidities should be offered standard treatments such as surgical resection for early-stage lung cancer with adjuvant chemotherapy, combined modality treatment (chemotherapy and radiation) for locally advanced disease, and systemic chemotherapy with supportive care for metastatic disease. Frail patients should be reviewed to optimize function and comorbid illnesses, and then considered for other treatment alternatives aimed at minimizing toxicity while still trying to maximize the curative or palliative potential of lung cancer therapy depending upon disease stage.
Key words: lung cancer, aging, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, treatment.