Cancer in older people: a tale of two disciplines

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Abstract:

Abstract

Management of cancer in the elderly presents an unprecedented challenge in Australia with the proportion of the population aged over 65 years set to double over the next four decades. Despite the complex healthcare needs of the older patient with cancer, there is currently little communication or cooperation between the fields of oncology and geriatrics. Improved interdisciplinary communication would facilitate care that is framed within current oncology practice while taking account of physiological age, complex comorbidities, risk of adverse events and pharmacological interactions as well as the implications of cognitive impairment on suitability for treatment and consent. An important first step has been taken towards the development of a strategic, focused and collaborative approach to the management of cancer in older people through a national interdisciplinary workshop convened by the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia in April 2008. Engagement and commitment of both oncology and geriatric disciplines is now critical to ensure that momentum is not lost in progressing this important and growing area of healthcare.

Keywords: cancer; geriatrics; older people; oncology

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1445-5994.2009.02056.x

Affiliations: 1: Sydney Haematology and Oncology Clinic, Hornsby, 2: Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, 3: Clinical Oncological Society of Australia, and 4: Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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