Background/aims: We aimed to evaluate the impact of age on short-term surgical outcomes and to investigate the risk factors for postoperative mortality in 660 Turkish colorectal cancer patients. Methods: Between January 2002 and January 2007, 660 consecutive patients who were operated for colorectal cancer at our institution were enrolled in this study. The patients were divided into two groups as: a younger group (<70 years) and an older group (>= 70 years). Patient data were recorded prospectively with the use of specially designed forms. Variables and short-term patient results were compared. Results: American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) scores were significantly higher and albumin levels were lower in the older group compared with the younger group (p<0.05). Morbidity and mortality rates were 16.8% (83/494) and 2.6% (13/494) in the younger group and 22.9% (38/166) and 3.0% (51/66) in the older group, respectively. These differences in rates were not statistically significant. ASA score (ASA 4) and non-resective procedures were found to be independent risk factors for mortality. Conclusions: Age should not be regarded as a reason for limited surgery. Elderly patients should undergo the same standard surgical approach as younger patients. The patient's general state of health is more effective on postoperative mortality.