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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.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Cancer Treatment Reviews
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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.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) peaks between the fifth and seventh decades of life. With prolongation of life expectancy, however, the proportion of elderly HNSCC patients is also increasing, which makes HNSCC in this life period an important issue for healthcare providers. With features characteristic to the older patient groups coupled with the inherent complexity of the disease, HNSCC in the elderly represents a considerable challenge to clinicians. Indeed, to expedite the progress and improve the healthcare system to meet the needs of this unique population of patients, several essential issues related to the clinical profile, diagnostics, optimal treatment and support are of concern and should be addressed in properly conducted clinical trials.In the present review, we analyzed a literature series comparing different age groups with regard to their clinical characteristics, therapy, outcome and quality of life in an attempt to determine their implications on treatment-decision-making for elderly patients with HNSCC.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Reports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy
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