About geriatric oncology

      What is this relatively new field called geriatric oncology? One should admit that it is the long overdue development of the need for specialised care of those who, as age advances, suffer from both ailments related to senescence and to cancer. It is an area of medicine where the expertise of the geriatrician encounters that of the oncologist (often understood as the medical oncologist), and where much progress needs to be made. This special issue of the European Journal of Cancer summarises many of these recent developments. Geriatric oncology is not the mirror image of paediatric oncology, even if it is obvious that the name of the society that represents this field is inspired by that of SIOP, the Société Internationale d’Oncologie Pédiatrique, where Gériatrique is used to give the acronym SIOG, which translates into International Society for Geriatric Oncology. Geriatric.oncology discussions are complex, as they go beyond the specific ‘case-discussion’ to look at issues of society, preventative medicine, early detection and treatment (with surgery, radiation and drug therapy, rehabilitation, supportive and palliative care questions often intertwined). The geriatric oncology decision making process also takes into account the variable reality of family or community support, which is so different among the many cultures and their present changes in a world which moves very fast, faster than most elderly (and not so elderly) people can apprehend. This clinical debate should happen in multidisciplinary team discussions, following various clinical models that need to reflect the possibilities given by the framework of the national health service systems that govern the delivery of medical care in each country.
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