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Radiation therapy for elderly patients with uterine cervical cancer: feasibility of curative treatment


As the average lifespan lengthens worldwide, and the older adult population increases, the number of elderly patients with uterine cervical cancer is increasing. Because intensive and invasive treatments, including surgery, are frequently unacceptable in elderly patients, cancer treatments for these patients must be carefully considered. Elderly patients have undergone radiation therapy as less-invasive curative treatment, and it has been shown to be safe and effective for local control of cervical cancer in this population, even among patients aged ≥80 years treated with curative radiation doses. Although concurrent chemoradiotherapy is the standard treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer, it is unclear whether the addition of chemotherapy to radiation therapy prolongs survival in elderly patients. Elderly patients treated with curative radiation therapy for cervical cancer might develop more therapy-related gastrointestinal and hematological toxicities and insufficiency fractures compared with younger patients. However, advanced techniques of radiation therapy (eg, intensity-modulated radiation therapy and volumetric modulated arc therapy with photons, charged-particle radiation therapy with protons and carbon ions in external-beam radiation therapy, and image-guided adaptive brachytherapy) can minimize radiation-induced toxicities and thus make curative treatment safer and more effective for elderly patients with uterine cervical cancer.

  • cervical cancer
  • elderly
  • radiation therapy
  • uterine cervix

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