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Aim: in elderly people colorectal cancer has an high incidence of emergency presentation. In this article we report our experience on colorectal emergency surgery for cancers in patients older than 80 yrs. Methods: from October 1995 to December 2000 323 patients were submitted to emergency surgical procedure for colorectal cancer at the Dpt of Emergency Surgery of University of Bologna. 37 (11%) subjects were over 80 years of age. A retrospective analysis was performed: the data collected included the mode of presentation of the patients, the location and Dukes’ classification of the tumors, the incidence of radical and palliative operations, the causes of death and 30-day mortality.