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Available from: Apar Kishor Ganti, Jan 09, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have identified advanced age as a barrier to accessing specialized oncological care. To identify elements from the literature influencing general practitioners (GPs) in their decisions to refer elderly patients with cancer to oncology teams, and propose focused actions to improve referral processes. Eligible articles published up to July 2010 identifying factors associated with referral decisions for elderly cancer patients were selected. A quality assessment of each article was performed. All factors identified were considered for possible interventions classified by the Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) taxonomy and development of recommendations for referral of elderly patients. Thirty eligible articles were found with only 18 articles specifically exploring factors influencing physicians in the referral of their patients with cancer. Twelve focused on delay to treatment and only two uniquely on elderly patients. Patient age was the main factor associated with referral decisions, but this factor can influence GP's differently depending on the type of cancer. The small size of these studies, heterogeneity of study populations, and diversity of outcome measures used meant that compilation of guidelines based on high-quality evidence was not possible. However, organizational factors hindering decisions to refer are identified and highlighted as crucial for inclusion in intervention programs, specifically to reach GPs in smaller locations or with less experience in collaborating with specialists. For patient-related factors, professional and organizational interventions are necessary, aimed at both GPs and patients to update knowledge of the non-linear relationship between chronological age and a patient's ability to tolerate treatment. First and foremost, this article highlights the scarcity of literature specific to elderly patients with cancer. It also identifies the public health need for better knowledge of the factors for referral of elderly patients. Focussed action proposals are presented to improve knowledge and consequently, optimize the referral process.
    Cancer Treatment Reviews 04/2012; 38(7):935-41. DOI:10.1016/j.ctrv.2012.03.010 · 6.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Gastrointestinal cancer (GI) incidence increases with each decade of life and is the leading cause of death in patients aged >70 years. Nevertheless, elderly patients are often excluded or underrepresented in clinical trials. We performed a review of current recommendations in the management of GI elderly cancer patients. METHODS: A comprehensive literature review was performed analyzing data about several meta-analysis and studies regarding chemotherapeutic regimens in elderly patients with colorectal and gastroesophageal cancers. RESULTS: Most of the studies demonstrated that the elderly experience the same advantages and toxicities from chemotherapy as younger individuals despite the fact that the data reviewed in this article provide evidence that elderly with GI cancers are underrepresented in clinical trials and few trials are conducted addressing the different risks and aims in older population. Each individual should be assessed for an appropriate regimen of treatment in the adjuvant or metastatic gastrointestinal cancer setting, and the decision of how to treat elderly must incorporate goals and preferences of the patient after a careful discussion of risks and benefits. CONCLUSION: Chronological age alone is not a sufficient factor to withhold curative/palliative treatment from an elderly GI cancer patient, and cofactors regarding their functional, social, and mental status have to be considered. For this purpose, several tools exist that may be utilized, such as geriatric assessment scores, comorbidity indices, frailty indices, scores for predicting toxicity from chemotherapy, and prognostic indices for survival.
    Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer 11/2012; DOI:10.1007/s12029-012-9447-5 · 0.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing numbers and longevity of cancer survivors has furthered our insight into the factors affecting their health outcomes, suggesting that multiple factors play a role (e.g., effects of cancer treatments and health behaviors). Emotional and physical symptoms may not always receive sufficient attention. In this short narrative review highlighting recent literature, we describe the most common physical and emotional symptoms of breast cancer survivors aged 50 years and older and outline a multidisciplinary symptom management approach, regardless of symptom etiology.
    01/2013; 2(1):71-81. DOI:10.2217/bmt.12.63
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