ecancermedicalscience

Special Issue

The care of older cancer patients in the United Kingdom

15 Sep 2020
Fabio Gomes, Anna Lewis, Rob Morris, Ruth Parks, Tania Kalsi, Gordana Babic-Illamn, Mark Baxter, Kirsty Colquhoun, Lisa Rodgers, Eleanor Smith, Alastair Greystoke, Neil Bayman, Anthea Cree, Cassandra Ng, Nicola de Liguori Carino, Simone Basile, John Moore, Zoe Merchant, Daniel Swinson, Anita Parbhoo, Rachel Jones, Eleri Davies, Sarah J Danson, Robin Young, Jenna Morgan, Lynda Wyld, Pippa G Corrie, Gary J Doherty, Kyle Crawford, Juliet Wright, Malcolm Reed, Fiammetta Ugolini, Michael Lind, Kwok-Leung Cheung, Danielle Harari, Richard Simcock

The ageing population poses new challenges globally. Cancer care for older patients is one of these challenges, and it has a significant impact on societies. In the United Kingdom (UK), as the number of older cancer patients increases, the management of this group has become part of daily practice for most oncology teams in every geographical area. Older cancer patients are at a higher risk of both under- and over-treatment. Therefore, the assessment of a patient’s biological age and effective organ functional reserve becomes paramount. This may then guide treatment decisions by better estimating a prognosis and the risk-to-benefit ratio of a given therapy to anticipate and mitigate against potential toxicities/difficulties. Moreover, older cancer patients are often affected by geriatric syndromes and other issues that impact their overall health, function and quality of life. Comprehensive geriatric assessments offer an opportunity to identify and address health problems which may then optimise one’s fitness and well-being. Whilst it is widely accepted that older cancer patients may benefit from such an approach, resources are often scarce, and access to dedicated services and research remains limited to specific centres across the UK. The aim of this project is to map the current services and projects in the UK to learn from each other and shape the future direction of care of older patients with cancer.

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