General care of the older cancer patient.
Gosney, M. (2009) General care of the older cancer patient. Clinical oncology (Royal College of Radiologists (Great Britain)), 21 (2). pp. 86-91. ISSN 0936-6555
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.clon.2008.11.005
With increasing age, there are greater numbers of older people who will be diagnosed with cancer. It must be remembered that such individuals have increased frailty and have a number of geriatric syndromes and conditions particularly pertinent to older age, including incontinence, poor cognition and impaired nutrition. It is often difficult to define the effects of cancer and its treatment or complications, and separate these from the effects of normal ageing and geriatric syndromes. The documentation of poor nutrition and its management must combine knowledge from both geriatric medicine and oncology. Nutrition serves to identify key healthcare professionals who are all essential in any patient at risk or suffering from malnutrition. Incontinence must be actively sought, its cause identified and efforts made to either 'cure' it or, in certain circumstances, 'manage' it. Older patients with cancer are cared for predominantly by older relations and informal care mechanisms and special consideration of their physical and practical needs are paramount. In this area, nurses, doctors, therapists and social workers should work to identify formal and informal mechanisms to support particularly the older carer.