With the increasing population of older adults with cancer, there has been a commensurate need for more readily available and widely accessible educational and clinical resources in geriatric oncology. As part of the Cancer and Aging Research Group and ASCO’s Geriatric Oncology Special Interest Group, those identifying as geriatric oncologists (such as myself) have worked over the years to keep a spotlight on geriatric oncology, including our continued efforts to address this need, with ASCO’s support along the way.
ASCO’s Web-Based Resource
Through a recent grant sponsored by the Association of Specialty Professors, ASCO, in conjunction with the Geriatric Oncology Special Interest Group, has been able to develop the first Web-based resource for many aspects pertaining to geriatric oncology, ranging from patient care to training (https://www.asco.org/practice-guidelines/cancer-care-initiatives/geriatric-oncology/geriatric-oncology-resources).
Currently, the geriatric oncology resource Webpage is divided into six main sections:
(1) Geriatric Oncology Resources: This section is dedicated to general geriatric oncology “fund-of-knowledge” references; clinically focused topics for care providers, such as cancer screening in older adults; fellowship training resources for those interested in geriatric oncology as a career/research focus; and links to geriatric oncology–specific content found on Cancer.Net and the National Institute on Aging websites that are relevant to patients and caregivers of older adults with cancer.
(2) Geriatric Oncology Updates: This section is designed with the future intent of providing updated information including geriatric oncology–related abstracts and presentations from the following sources:
(3) Specific Cancer Types: Seminal and/or consensus papers in topics centered on older adults with specific cancers, with a focus on assessment, treatment, and/or supportive care. This section will be reviewed and updated based on consensus annually. It is currently divided into breast cancer, non–small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, myelodysplastic syndrome/acute leukemia/bone marrow transplant issues, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, lymphomas/myeloma, gynecologic cancers, and other cancers (currently head/neck and central nervous system cancers).
(4) Geriatric Syndromes: This section provides links to “oncologist-friendly” review papers and on-line resources for geriatric issues/syndromes that are relevant for the evaluation and management of older adults with cancer. It currently focuses on cognitive impairment, comorbidities, falls/mobility, life expectancy, frailty, polypharmacy, and psychosocial aspects.
(5) Cancer Clinical Trials: This section focuses on the “white papers” that have been borne out from the geriatric oncology U13 meetings among the Cancer and Aging Research Group, the National Institute of Aging, and the National Cancer Institute to shed light on the current and future landscape for older adults with cancer in terms of the following issues: trial recruitment and participation, research outcomes and related metrics essential for older adults with cancer, and factors to consider in designing such studies.
(6) Cancer Survivorship in Older Adults With Cancer: This section focuses on resources and papers that specifically address older adult survivors, including intervention-based studies.
In addition to this central resource page, there are other useful geriatric oncology–related content available through ASCO’s website. For instance, ASCO University’s geriatric oncology modules are available for breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and acute leukemia (university.asco.org/geriatric-oncology). These modules can be taken for CME (continuing medical education) credit.
A second resource is the B.J. Kennedy Award for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology. This award is presented at the annual ASCO Meeting to a leader who has made significant contributions to promote scientific excellence in aging and cancer. These lectures have since been made available online. This year, the recipient was Dr. Pierre-Louis Soubeyran from France, and his lecture can be viewed here: meetinglibrary.asco.org/presentationBySession/9338/1323?media=sl.
Finally, ASCO’s Journal of Oncology Practice will frequently publish practice-relevant studies that are focused on or relevant for geriatric oncology topics. For instance, the Journal of Oncology Practice published a study utilizing SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results)–Medicare data on patients aged 67 years or older with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer; the investigators found no difference in survival and fewer hospitalizations associated with carboplatin/etoposide vs cisplatin/etoposide (jop.ascopubs.org/content/early/2016/06/23/JOP.2016.012492
It is our hope that this resource Webpage will remain dynamic and evolve over time, reflecting changes in emerging data; new perspectives; and, most important, feedback from ASCO members and other Website users. We certainly look forward to collaborating with you in expanding and enhancing this new resource! ■
Disclosure: Dr. Maggiore reported no potential conflicts of interest.