Guidance on frailty assessment and management in oncology published in association with BGS

08 November 2023

The Joint Collegiate Council for Oncology (JCCO), the inter-collegiate body for non-surgical oncology in the UK, has published new frailty guidance in association with the British Geriatrics Society, the International Society of Geriatric Oncology and Macmillan Cancer Support.

More than a third of cancer diagnoses and over half of cancer-related deaths are in people aged 75 years or older. Frailty is common in older patients with cancer. Such patients with frailty are vulnerable to higher rates of treatment toxicity and surgical complications, and worse quality of life and survival outcomes. However, these can and should be improved with targeted assessment, support and management of frailty. The new guidance, Frailty assessment and management in oncology services, is intended to encourage and support the implementation of frailty assessment and management in oncology services across the UK. It provides practical advice and recommendations to help ensure this becomes a routine part of clinical care.

Frailty is everyone’s business and although aimed primarily at oncologists, this guidance is relevant to everyone involved in the care of adult patients with cancer across the wider multi-disciplinary team. It highlights the role of geriatric and oncogeriatric specialists in both acute and primary care, as well as the many other professions involved in supporting people living with frailty and cancer.

BGS President, Professor Adam Gordon, said:

Older people living with frailty make up an increasing proportion of NHS patients. We need to ensure that they can access timely, expert, person-centred care and that they are not excluded from care that might help them. It is also important that they are protected from intensive medical interventions that may cause harm without providing benefit.

All specialist services within the NHS need to make provision to care for older people with frailty, and to ensure that staff are properly trained and equipped to do so. With this in mind, the new guidance on frailty assessment and management in oncology services is very welcome. Older people with cancer deserve the best possible care. This document outlines the core principles that will help ensure the best possible care is delivered.”

Click here to read the full guidance, Frailty assessment and management in oncology services.