Improving Quality of Cancer Care for Older Adults

August 16, 2017
Erika E. Ramsdale, MD, and Andrew E. Chapman, DO, FACP

The ASCO Educational Book is a collection of articles written by ASCO Annual Meeting speakers and oncology experts. Published annually, each volume highlights the most compelling research and developments across many different fields of cancer care.

Erika E. Ramsdale, MD, is a board-certified specialist in geriatric medicine and medical oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Andrew E. Chapman, DO, FACP, is the co-director of the Jefferson Senior Adult Oncology Center and a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist at Thomas Jefferson University.

In this podcast from the ASCO Educational Book, Dr. Erika E. Ramsdale and Dr. Andrew E. Chapman talk about how to improve the quality and value of cancer care for older adults. One of the topics they discuss is the rising costs of cancer care.  They also talk about what doctors are doing to make sure older patients receive the highest quality of care possible.

The authors cite that by 2040, about 73% of cancers will be diagnosed in patients older than 65. And by 2020, the annual cost to treat cancer in the United States is projected to rise to $173 billion.share on twitter This means that older adults with cancer will face increasingly high costs for needed medical care.

Older adults face other challenges during cancer care. These include:

  1. Many older adults must also manage other conditions or diseases that may require a large number of medications and involve many different health care professionals.

  2. A lack of clinical trial data on older adults with cancer to help doctors make decisions about treatment.

  3. Traveling for cancer care can be difficult for older adults.

Overcoming these challenges for older adults requires taking a patient-centered approach to delivering comprehensive cancer care. This means the health care team, made up of different health care professionals, work closely together to understand and address the patient’s medical needs, challenges, and preferences. Clear and consistent communication between the patient, family caregivers, and their health care team is central to this approach.

Major Discussion Points

  1. What are some of the challenges for older patients with cancer? [2:51]

  2. What is a patient-centered approach for the care of older adults with cancer? [3:30]

  3. Can doctors use data from electronic medical records to improve care? [5:37]

  4. What other ways can technology help doctors deliver care to older patients with cancer? [6:00]

This is a prerecorded audio podcast. It can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.