Cancer is an age-related disease, and has increased in prevalence as the population has grown older. Improvements in screening and the availability of better therapeutic options contribute to burgeoning numbers of cancer survivors, who number more than 24 million worldwide. Sixty-one percent of these survivors are at least 65 years old. This review is an attempt to consolidate some of the data available in the area of cancer survivorship, with emphasis on the elderly. Our aim is to provide a better description of the population, elucidate specific physical and psychosocial sequelae secondary to cancer and it's treatment, and better understand how comorbid conditions, functional status, body-weight, and other issues contribute to quality of life, and overall health. This paper also suggests some surveillance guidelines for following elderly cancer survivors and identifies areas that require further research. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.