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Invited Commentary
November 7, 2019

Expanding the Scope of Geriatric Assessment for the Management of Cancer in Older Adults

Author Affiliations
  • 1“Sandro Pitigliani” Medical Oncology Department, Hospital of Prato, Prato, Italy
  • 2Department of Medicine–Breast Unit, The Royal Marsden National Health Service Foundation Trust, Sutton, Surrey, United Kingdom
JAMA Oncol. Published online November 7, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.4708

Cancer is a disease of older adults, with approximately 50% of cancer cases and 70% of cancer-related deaths occurring in individuals older than 65 years.1 Older adults are also the fastest-growing portion of the general population worldwide,2 which suggests that the incidence of cancer in this age group will continue to increase. Managing cancer in older adults poses a significant challenge to oncologists and health care systems because they represent a very heterogeneous population with organ-specific physiological changes and a diverse burden of functional impairments, comorbidities, polypharmacy, geriatric syndromes, and cognitive, nutritional, and psychological issues. All these factors may increase the risk of adverse events from anticancer treatments and complicate decision-making. In addition, the basis of evidence to guide the management of cancer in this group is limited, as therapeutic trials tend to enroll a very select population of patients.

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