Nav: Home

Tailor-made for older adults, new tools improve doctor-patient relations

November 07, 2019

A Wilmot Cancer Institute-led study in JAMA Oncology shows that when physicians fully appreciate the concerns of older adults with cancer, such as function and forgetfulness, it elevates patient care and satisfaction.

The study is believed to be the first to assess in a randomized clinical trial whether a tool known as geriatric assessment (GA) can meaningfully influence cancer care for vulnerable older people.

Many oncologists in community practices are not aware of, or do not ask their patients who are 70 or older, about living conditions, functional ability, cognition, and family support, for example. But impairments in these areas are linked to chemotherapy toxicity, an inability to complete treatment, and an overall decline in health or risk of early death, said Supriya Mohile, M.D., corresponding author and the Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

A geriatric assessment can personalize care and prompt better conversations between physicians, patients, and their families, the study found.

"We've shown that we can modify the behavior of oncologists if they have the right tools and guidance," said Mohile, who also co-leads the Cancer Survivorship and Supportive Care research program at Wilmot.

"And when oncologists are better informed about the special needs of their older adult patients," she added, "everyone's experience is much improved." Mohile and co-authors suggest that a GA summary should be considered standard care for older adults with cancer, and appropriate interventions based on the report should be used as needed.

A case might look like this: Jane Doe recently fell at home, which was revealed through geriatric assessment. Evidence shows that falls increase the risk of chemotherapy side effects, and therefore the physician talks to the patient and her primary caregiver about those risks and recommends physical therapy to prevent additional falls.

The study involved 541 older people with advanced cancer who were being treated at 31 oncology clinics across the U.S., through the UR National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). The oncology practices either received a tailored GA assessment and summary with recommendations for the patient, or the usual alerts related to depression or cognitive impairment. Then, researchers measured patient and caregiver satisfaction with questionnaires and through audio recordings of physician visits.
-end-
The Patient-Center outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funded the study, as well as the NCI and National Institute of Aging. A full list of co-authors can be found at the end of the article: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2754746

University of Rochester Medical Center

Related Cancer Articles:

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Space
One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.