There is a great need for effective cancer prevention programs for the elderly. Unfortunately, the elderly have been omitted from most studies of cancer prevention; little is currently known concerning the benefits, risks, and feasibility of most primary and secondary cancer prevention measures in this segment of the population. Available data justify annual casefinding activities in the office of the primary care physician for breast cancer in elderly women and colorectal cancer in elderly persons of both sexes. PAP smear screening is also indicated for elderly women who have had few or no PAP smear in the past. There is some evidence that the health beliefs and practices of elderly persons and their physicians may impede the utilization of available cancer prevention measures. Further research is needed to define the efficacy of cancer prevention measures for the elderly and to improve the delivery of these measures to the elderly population.