Lori Gardner, Senior Director
Membership and Public Relations
301.984.9496 ext. 226
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Dec 16, 2019
Rockville, MD – 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 age 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 percent to 23 percent of the total U.S. population.1 By 2030, researchers estimate that 70 percent of cancers will be diagnosed in older adults.2 The population of cancer survivors is increasing accordingly. While 64 percent of cancer survivors in the U.S. are currently age 65 and older, researchers estimate that by 2040, 73 percent 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:
“The majority of cancer cases are diagnosed in older adults. To care for this population, it is important for healthcare professionals to be aware of the common age-related vulnerabilities and how they interact with cancer and cancer treatments,” said advisory committee member Melissa Kah Poh Loh, MD, MSc, Geriatric Hematologist/Oncologist, University of Rochester.
Results from ACCC’s landscape analysis revealed that only 32 percent of respondents have received any form 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.
“I am fortunate to have worked with the ACCC leadership and other experts in geriatric oncology to develop education materials that are practical and easily translatable into clinical practice for healthcare professionals. I strongly believe that this project will serve as a model for other organizations whose goals are to improve care in the geriatric oncology population,” added Dr. Loh.
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.
“Pfizer has a longstanding commitment to advancing healthcare for older adults, and the need to support healthcare professionals in providing optimal care to older people living with cancer has become increasingly pressing,” said Dany Habr, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Oncology. “To compound the issue, many seniors are part of difficult-to-reach, underserved communities that further challenges access to information, quality care and treatment. We’re pleased to support ACCC in highlighting the important role that routine geriatric assessment plays in improving outcomes for older adults with cancer.”
To access ACCC’s Multidisciplinary Approaches to Caring for Geriatric Patients with Cancer, visit our website.
1Population Reference Bureau. Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States. Available online at: https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet.
2Smith BD, et al. Future of cancer incidence in the United States: burdens upon an aging, changing nation. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27:2758-2765.
3National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Control & Population Sciences. Office of Cancer Survivorship. Statistics. Available online at: https://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/ocs/statistics/index.html.