Current Geriatrics Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 160–168 | Cite as

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in the Elderly: a Practical Approach to Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment

  • Michal J. Sobieszczyk
  • Whittney A. Warren
  • Andrew P. Polito
  • William S. Krimsky
  • Sy SarkarEmail author
Pulmonology and Respiratory Care (D Breen, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Pulmonology and Respiratory Care


Purpose of Review

Lung cancer is primarily a disease of the elderly. We summarize the literature on screening, diagnosis, and treatment of early non-small cell lung cancer in the elderly population.

Recent Findings

Lung cancer screening has resulted in a reduction in lung cancer mortality and is recommended in some patients up to 80 years old. Minimally invasive techniques, such as endobronchial ultrasound guided biopsy, have allowed for low diagnostic complications rates in elderly patients. Surgical treatment remains the standard of care; however, stereotactic body radiation therapy in non-operative candidates has similar outcomes with less morbidity. Decision to treat and choice of treatment should not be based on age alone, but should incorporate functional status, comorbid disease, and patient preference.


Advances in screening, diagnostic techniques, and radiation therapies have transformed the management of early non-small cell lung cancer in the elderly. Further studies are needed incorporating larger numbers of geriatric patients in a disease that primarily affects the elderly.


Non-small cell lung cancer Stereotactic body radiation therapy Elderly patients Lung cancer 



The views reflected in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Army/Navy/Air Force, Department of Defense, or US Government.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Michal Sobieszczyk, Whittney Warren, Andrew Polito, and Sy Sarkar declare no conflict of interest.

William Krimsky is a part-time employee for the Medtronic corporation. He is also a consultant/CSO for Gala Therapeutics, consultant for Innovital Systems, and consultant for Peytant Solutions.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michal J. Sobieszczyk
    • 1
  • Whittney A. Warren
    • 2
  • Andrew P. Polito
    • 1
  • William S. Krimsky
    • 3
  • Sy Sarkar
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.San Antonio Military Medical CenterDepartment of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep MedicineSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Walter Reed National Military Medical CenterDepartment of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep MedicineBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Interventional PulmonologyMedstar Franklin Square Medical CenterBaltimoreUSA

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