Geriatric Oncology: Why older patients need a special approach

Anthea Cree is a clinical oncologist currently undertaking an MD in advanced radiotherapy at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. She co-founded a group within the hospital to work towards better outcomes and experience for older patients.

I recently did a clinic during which the average age of the patients was over eighty and the oldest nearer to one hundred. This is probably not unusual for the readers of this blog but I’m an oncologist, not a geriatrician.

I’ve been an oncology registrar for six years and even over this short period of time, it seems like encountering octogenarians in clinic has changed from unusual to routine. This is a positive step as a third of cancer patients are over 75 years old and in the past many did not get a chance to see a specialist as they were automatically deemed to be too old for treatment. Continue reading

Oncogeriatrics, gaining momentum!

Dr Kirsty Colquhoun has been a consultant geriatrician, working in Glasgow, since August 2015. She works across a variety of hospitals, including Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Gartnaval General hospital and The Beatson. In addition she works with Macmillan, developing oncogeriatric services. In this blog she discusses the BGS Oncogeriatrics Conference on 7 December 2017 at the Wellcome Collection in London. She tweets @colki1983

Oncogeriatrics…it is a relatively new speciality but those of us involved in it can see it is an exciting one, gaining momentum. The BGS Oncogeriatric SIG was inaugurated in 2015, and our annual meeting this year is on the 7 Dec 2017.

Particularly since the Cancer Services Coming of Age Report there has been increasing recognition that the way in which we manage our older patients with cancer, could, and should be improved and tailored to their specific needs. The benefits of CGA extend to cancer care, with outcomes and tolerance of treatment improving with its use. Continue reading

Improving cancer care for older people

Dr Shane O’Hanlon is a consultant geriatrician with the Macmillan COCOC team (Comprehensive Care for Older People with Cancer) at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. He tweets @drohanlon

Today is World Cancer Day, and is a good opportunity to take stock of where we are with cancer care for older people.

Many people are surprised to hear that the majority of cancers are now diagnosed in people over the age of 65 years – this group is 11 times more likely to develop cancer than young adults. The incidence of cancer generally has been increasing since the 1970s, but the largest increase has been among people aged 75 years and older.

So we really should be offering excellent care to this group, and outcomes should be constantly improving. Is that what is happening?

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BGS Oncology SIG Meeting Report

Dr Lucy Dumas is a Medical Oncology Specialist trainee at the Royal Marsden.  She has just started research with Dr Susana Banerjee towards an MD degree focusing on the treatment of Gynaecological cancers in older patients.  Here she fills us in on what happened at the first ever BGS Oncology Special Interest Group meeting.

On Friday the 18th September, the inaugural meeting of an Oncology Special Interest Group, part of the British Geriatrics Society was held at the Wellcome Collection in London.  Myself and a small group of other intrepid oncologists and surgeons from around the UK were welcomed into the world of geriatrics, with the common aim of gaining a better understanding of the current status of the growing field of “Geriatric Oncology”; how outcomes for older patients may be improved.

Continue reading