Taking care of older cancer patients: Results of a survey addressed to the Chiefs of the Medical Oncology Divisions in Italy

Silvio Monfardini, L. Pasetto, A. Jirillo, N. Delai

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An open questionnaire on the management of older cancer patients in the Italian Divisions of Medical Oncology was sent to the Chiefs of the units in the last 4 months of the year 2004. One hundred and ninety-nine of 330 (60%) responded. The majority of the Medical Oncologists interviewed agreed that special therapeutic protocols were necessary for elderly cancer patients. Also specific guidelines were believed to be useful. In only a minority of units there were some members specifically dedicated to older patients and the Multidimensional Geriatric (MGE) was used routinely only in 12% of cases. The majority of the physicians interviewed believed that older patients accepted chemotherapy as the younger ones did, or even more (79%). Written informed consent was obtained in the majority of units (70%). Over 63% believed that oral antitumor drugs had a very important role in older patients, while 36% were sceptical or negative. More time and attention should be paid to older patients (87.4%) and more economic resources devoted to them (93.3%). In conclusion, Italian Medical Oncologists are well aware of the increasing number of old cancer patients, of the particular problems concerning drug administration and the need of specific trials and guidelines. The need of close contact with Geriatricians and the adoption of Geriatric tools (MGE) are only perceived by a minority. The majority, however, believes that more time and resources should be available in order to take care of elderly cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • Care of older patients
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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