Addressing the Treatment Needs of Aging Patients With Cancer

Opinion
Video

William Dale, MD, PhD, discusses the unmet needs of older patients requiring cancer treatment.

Several unmet needs exist for an aging population of patients with cancer requiring treatment; however, many researchers remain dedicated to finding solutions. Standardized assessments can effectively identify vulnerabilities and problems in older cancer patients, while interventions based on these assessments have been shown to improve patient outcomes.The challenge now is integrating these assessments and interventions into routine cancer care.This includes making them accessible to a wider range of patients, especially frail older adults who may not be able to visit a cancer center frequently.

William Dale, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope, and the winner of the 2024 BJ Kennedy Geriatric Oncology Award at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, discusses this topic.

Transcription:

0:05 | We've done a lot of work to get to showing that now we have assessments that work, meaning we can identify people and their vulnerabilities and the problems. And we've done the randomized trials to show we can intervene and make those deficits better. The future is going to be how do we integrate these new interventions that we have for this holistic care, supportive care interventions into standardized cancer care, so that the patient gets both cancer care and these supportive care interventions along with it based on these standardized assessments?

0:39 | So I think the decisions around, oh, how do we integrate in the cognitive and physical problems into the can you tolerate your cancer treatments is going to be the goal, along with what I would call access. So getting everybody, especially frail, older people who won't necessarily be able to show up at a cancer center, enroll in a clinical trial, all those things, to actually be able to do that both enroll in the trials and get the treatments that they need, whether through telehealth or some other means.

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