As people age, their risk for cancer and other chronic health conditions increase. Geriatric oncology is a specialized field of medicine dedicated to understanding, diagnosing, and treating cancer in older adults. It focuses on early detection and treatment of cancer, as well as managing quality of life and side effects due to cancer and its treatment.
Who Should See A Geriatric Oncologist?
Geriatric Oncomlogists specialize in the unique needs of older patients with cancer. Oftentimes, many of these patients may have multiple chronic conditions, in addition to cancer, and that is why they should see a Geriatric Oncologist. The Oncologist will then suggest a custom treatment plan to best suit the patient’s medical history, existing conditions, age, and overall health.
Identifying Cancer Risk Factors For Older Adults
It is important to remember that cancer risk increases with age, and older adults are more likely to have a diagnosis of cancer. Common risk factors for cancer in older adults can include:
- Lifestyle factors, such as lack of physical activity, smoking,
alcohol consumption, and dietary habits.
- Environmental factors, such as exposure to certain toxins or other pollutants in the air.
- Family history, as certain cancers may often run in families.
- Medical conditions ,such as obesity, diabetes, and certain autoimmune disorders.
Treating Cancer In Older Adults
The treatment of cancer in older adults is often complicated due to their age and other existing medical conditions. Many of the standard cancer treatments may not be suitable for older adults, and therefore customized treatments may be required.
Geriatric Oncologists will take into the age of the patient, as well as their health, in order to decide on the best course of treatment. This could include:
- Surgery, if the cancer is located in one specific spot.
- Chemotherapy,which is used to help kill the cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy, which helps to reduce the size of tumors.
- Immunotherapy, which is used to boost the body’s immune system.
Rather than relying solely on the standard treatments, Geriatric Oncologists take a more holistic approach, and may also suggest lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity, and reducing stress.
Geriatric Oncology is a specialized field of medicine dedicated to understanding, diagnosing, and treating cancer in older adults. It is important for older patients to seek the help of a Geriatric Oncologist, who can provide an individualized plan of care that takes into consideration the unique needs of an aging adult battling cancer.