Role of Geriatric Oncologists in Optimizing Care of Urological Oncology Patients

Jean-Pierre Droz, Helen Boyle, Gilles Albrand, Nicolas Mottet, Martine Puts
European Urology Focus 2017, 3 (4-5): 385-394

CONTEXT: Urological cancers are common. Since the median age of diagnosis is 60-70 yr, many patients require geriatric as well as urological evaluation if treatment is to be tailored to individual health status including comorbidities and frailty.

OBJECTIVE: To review the most important features of geriatric assessment and its expected benefits. We also consider ways in which collaboration between urologists and geriatricians and geriatric teams can benefit patient well-being.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: Members of a multidisciplinary International Society of Geriatric Oncology task force reviewed articles published in 2010-2017 using search terms relevant to urological cancers, the elderly, and geriatric evaluation. The final manuscript reflects their expert consensus.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Elderly patients should be managed according to their individual health status and not according to age. As a first step, screening for cognitive impairment is mandatory to establish patient competence in making decisions. Initial evaluation of health status should use a validated screening tool, the G8 screening tool being generally preferred. Abnormal scores on the G8 should lead to a geriatric assessment that evaluates comorbid conditions and functional, nutritional, mental, and medicosocial status. When patients are frail or disabled or have severe comorbidities, comprehensive geriatric assessment is required. Diagnosis of health status impairment shows the need for geriatric interventions. This overall approach is realistic in the setting of a department of urological oncology and given the involvement of a multidisciplinary team including trained nurses and other professionals and collaboration with geriatricians. Mutual education and support of all those involved in managing elderly urological cancer patients is the key to effective care.

CONCLUSIONS: Advances in geriatric evaluation and cancer treatment are contributing to more appropriate management of elderly patients with urological cancers. Better understanding of the role of all participants and professional collaboration are vital to the individualization of care.

PATIENT SUMMARY: Many patients with urological cancers are elderly. In those physically fit, treatment should generally be the same as that in younger patients. Some elderly cancer patients are frail and have other medical problems. Treatment in individual patients should be based on health status and patient preference.

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