Oncogeriatrics, gaining momentum
Dr Kirsty Colquhoun has been a consultant geriatrician, working in Glasgow, since August 2015. She works across a variety of hospitals, including Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Gartnaval General hospital and The Beatson. In addition she works with Macmillan, developing oncogeriatric services. In this blog she discusses the BGS Oncogeriatrics Conference on 7 December 2017 at the Wellcome Collection in London. She tweets @colki1983
Oncogeriatrics…it is a relatively new speciality but those of us involved in it can see it is an exciting one, gaining momentum. The BGS Oncogeriatric SIG was inaugurated in 2015, and our annual meeting this year is on the 7 Dec 2017.
Particularly since the Cancer Services Coming of Age Report there has been increasing recognition that the way in which we manage our older patients with cancer, could, and should be improved and tailored to their specific needs. The benefits of CGA extend to cancer care, with outcomes and tolerance of treatment improving with its use. Cancer treatment itself, of course, continues to evolve at an exciting rate, for e.g. the use of immunotherapy. This is allowing patients of increasing age (and frailty) to access a wide range of cancer treatments and of course supportive care. Our section on treatments will be delivered by oncologists and haematologists, who have experience in tailoring all kinds of treatments from immunotherapy to radiotherapy, to the older population with a variety of cancer types.
With a range of diverse services around the country aiming to improve the older cancer patient’s journey, this is a great opportunity for shared learning. The management of the older person with cancer is of interest, not just to geriatricians, but a wide range of specialists from oncologists to surgeons and of course a wide range of allied health professionals such as nurse specialists and therapists. Our talks will be delivered by this diverse group, emphasising the true multidisciplinary working involved in onco-geriatrics.
Cancer is no longer a death sentence for a vast number of older patients, however; as a result, we are all seeing patients living with the long-term complications of cancer and its treatment. This is a great opportunity to discuss how we go about managing these often challenging problems. So whatever your background in looking after the older cancer patient we would welcome you to come along and help revolutionise the way in which we manage this patient group.