To prepare the multidisciplinary cancer care team for the growing prevalence of cancer and comorbidities among our nation’s graying population, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC)—in collaboration with The Gerontological Society of America and the International Society of Geriatric Oncology—has developed new tools and resources, offering expert insights through its Multidisciplinary Approaches to Caring for Geriatric Patients with Cancer program. This project is made possible by support from Pfizer Oncology.
The nation’s demographics are shifting dramatically. The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million in 2060, bringing the 65-and-older age group from 16% to 23% of the total U.S. population.1 By 2030, researchers estimate that 70% of cancers will be diagnosed in older adults.2 The population of cancer survivors is increasing accordingly. Although 64% of cancer survivors in the United States are currently aged 65 and older, researchers estimate that by 2040, 73% of U.S. cancer survivors will fall into that age range.3
Guided by an expert advisory committee, ACCC conducted a landscape analysis in 2018 to identify the successes and challenges among cancer programs in optimal delivery of care for an aging adult population with cancer. Findings from that analysis informed the development of a six-part webinar series on care for older adults with cancer; a curated resource list; and a publication that offers a convenient summary of the challenges, successes, and effective practices to ensuring quality care is being implemented. ACCC worked closely with multidisciplinary providers from the following programs in developing a publication that draws on their diverse experiences in optimizing care for this patient population: City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center; The Ted and Margaret Jorgensen Cancer Center, Presbyterian Rust Medical Center, Presbyterian Health System; and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.
Results from ACCC’s landscape analysis revealed that just 32% of respondents have received any type of specialized, geriatric oncology training. Understanding the unique needs of older adults with cancer will be critical for the multidisciplinary cancer care team’s delivery of patient-centered, quality care. In particular, an increasing amount of research has supported the usefulness of geriatric assessments.
ACCC’s Multidisciplinary Approaches to Caring for Geriatric Patients with Cancer is a reference that can be used across care settings to support the effective design and implementation of programs for managing geriatric patients. To access ACCC’s Multidisciplinary Approaches to Caring for Geriatric Patients with Cancer, visit its website at accc-cancer.org.■
1. Population Reference Bureau: Fact sheet: Aging in the United States. Available at https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet. Accessed January 9, 2020.
2. Smith BD, Smith GL, Hurria A, et al: Future of cancer incidence in the United States: Burdens upon an aging, changing nation. J Clin Oncol 27:2758-2765, 2009.
3. National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Control & Population Sciences, Office of Cancer Survivorship: Statistics, graphs and definitions. Available at https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/ocs/statistics/index.html. Accessed January 9, 2020.