Cancer in Older Adults: To Treat or Not to Treat?
- Pp. 128-137 (10)Tuck Yean Yong and Kareeann Sok Fun Khow
The incidence of cancer in older people (aged ≥65 years) is about 8-fold higher than in the younger population and there is a growing number of cancer survivors living beyond the age of 65 years. When cancer is suspected or diagnosed in an older person, clinicians face many challenges related to diagnosis and management. Treatment decisions in older cancer patients need to take into account the individual’s level of function and reserve. The best approach to assess an older individual’s medical, psychological and functional capabilities is through the application of a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA). CGA has been shown to predict treatment outcomes and survival in oncology settings as well as guide the implementation of multidisciplinary interventions. The goals of cancer treatment in older adults should be cure if possible and prolongation of active life expectancy as well as maintaining quality of life. There is still a dearth of clinical trials evaluating cancer treatment in the older people; an issue which needs to be addressed urgently as the population ages.