Why are we still not involving geriatricians in caring for our older cancer patients?

Dr. Fatou Farima Bagayogo is as a post-doctoral fellow who is currently interested in the organizational and professional factors that influence cancer care. This Fall, she is joining York University’s School of Health Policy and Management as an Assistant Professor in health management and global health. Some of her work is listed here. In her recent co-authored paper, she discusses creation in a hospital of a geriatric oncology clinic whose mandate is to facilitate the inclusion of geriatrics-based expertise in the care of older cancer patients.

aaSixty percent of new cancers are diagnosed in patients older than 65 years of age. Given the vulnerabilities of older cancer patients, cancer specialists increasingly need the inclusion of some geriatric competence in managing these patients. Geriatricians can help them with a better assessment of a patient’s condition and a more adapted handling of these patients’ vulnerabilities. Considering the ageing of the population and the fact that cancer care will have to be increasingly adapted to the age group that will make the bulk of cancer patients, we studied whether or not this adaptation is taking place and the associated reasons. We tried to identify and explain the patterns of referrals from cancer specialists to a clinic staffed by geriatricians who are interested in being involved with older cancer patient care. Continue reading