Geriatric Oncology: An Overview of Progresses and Challenges

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Geriatric oncology, Geriatric assessment, Aging

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Thanks to the global improvement of health care and living conditions, the world population is aging. Already, in developed countries half of the cancers occur in patients aged 70 and older. In booming Asian nations, such as South Korea, the aging trend is particularly striking, and therefore geriatric oncology is rapidly coming at the foreground of oncology practice. As older patients have a very variable health status, the need for proper integration of an oncologic and a geriatric approach has become increasingly clear. The last two decades have seen the development of geriatric oncology programs and research, which we review here. An increasing amount of data is making clear that a geriatric assessment identifies many problems in older people with cancer, adds prognostic information, and might improve the outcomes of these patients. The near future will likely deliver the following: Operationalization of geriatric assessment into assessment and decision tools, as well as multidisciplinary interventions, in oncology; cooperation of aging and cancer research in the understanding of cancer biology, aging physiology, pharmacology of anticancer drugs; improved clinical study designs; development of geriatric oncology programs, and screening tools accessible to the private practitioner.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Cancer Research and Treatment, v. 42, issue 2, p. 61-68