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Surge in older cancer survivors expected as baby boomers age
Date:12/10/2008

for older adults based on clinical trials that actually include older adults, decreasing barriers to screening when screening is found to be beneficial and leveraging volunteer organizations to enhance the participation of older adults in screening trials.

Treatment - Older adults are less likely to receive optimal doses of chemotherapy compared with younger patients due to toxicities and perceived complications. Age alone is inadequate in determining the vulnerability or response to treatment. When carefully selected, older patients can benefit from treatment or palliation. Use of a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) is recommended to determine which older cancer patients can benefit from treatment and which patients may benefit more from palliative care. Importantly, the patient's and family's values and preferences need to be taken into account in deciding on an appropriate treatment approach.

Survivorship - Is it my cancer or am I just getting older? Trying to disentangle the effects of cancer and its treatment from competing health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis on health outcomes is complex. Some studies suggest that older cancer survivors may be doing worse physically and psychologically than non-cancer comparison groups. More research is needed in this phase of the cancer care continuum which will ultimately lead to interventions to prevent or mitigate these adverse outcomes.

End of Life - Although preparation of living wills and designation of a Health Care Proxy are mandated by Federal Law, studies have identified numerous barriers to their implementation. We believe more effective and efficient communication regarding prognosis among patients, families and practitioners will improve decision making and help patients with terminal disease gain better control over their financial and health care decisions at end of life.


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Contact: Colin Poitras
colin.poitras@uconn.edu
860-486-4656
University of Connecticut
Source:Eurekalert

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