Organization of the clinical activity of geriatric oncology: report of a SIOG (International Society of Geriatric Oncology) task force

Silvio Monfardini, M S Aapro, J M Bennett, M Mori, D Regenstreif, M Rodin, B Stein, G B Zulian, J P Droz
Critical Reviews in Oncology/hematology 2007, 62 (1): 62-73
Management for elderly cancer patients world wide is far from being optimal and few older patients are entering clinical trials. A SIOG Task Force was therefore activated to analyze how the clinical activity of Geriatric Oncology is organized. A structured questionnaire was circulated among the SIOG Members. Fifty eight answers were received. All respondents identified Geriatric Oncology, as an area of specialization, however the organization of the clinical activity was variable. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) was performed in 60% of cases. A Geriatric Oncology Program (GOP) was identified in 21 centers, 85% located in Oncology and 15% in Geriatric Departments. In the majority of GOP scheduled case discussion conferences dedicated to elderly cancer patients took regular place, the composition of the multidisciplinary team involved in the GOP activity included Medical Oncologists, Geriatricians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Social Workers. Fellowships in Geriatric Oncology were present in almost half of GOPs. Over 60% of respondents were willing to recruit patients over 70 years in clinical trials, while the proportion of cases included was only 20%. Enrolment in clinical trials was perceived as more difficult by 52% and much more difficult in 12% of the respondents. In conclusion, a better organization of the clinical activity in Geriatric Oncology allows a better clinical practice and an optimal clinical research. The GOP which can be set up in the oncological as well as in the geriatric environment thought a multidisciplinary coordinator effort. Future plans should also concentrate on divisions, units or departments of Geriatric Oncology.

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