The Canadian Cancer Society has awarded Assistant Professor Martine Puts an impact grant for a four-year research study on older patients with cancer. With older age, the risk of treatment complications may rise, and Puts’ study will help determine if a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) and specialized care plan can improve the health and wellbeing of adults with cancer who are 65 years of age or older.
Older adults make up the majority of those diagnosed with cancer, and this group is an increasingly heterogeneous group. Knowing these individuals’ overall health status can help doctors and patients work out the best treatment and help prevent over- and under – treatment.
Through the implementation of a CGA – a diagnostic process that identifies medical, psychological, social and functional capacity issues such as cognitive impairment, poor nutritional status and depression that may have been previously undetected and could interfere with the success of the cancer treatment – doctors will have a better understanding of how to best treat each individual.
“While oncologists see many older adults in their daily practice, there is little evidence to guide them. There is evidence of over and under treatment of older adults which leads to not optimal use of health care resources and patient outcomes that are not ideal. Doing an explicit evaluation of the older adult can guide the treatment decision-making process and improve outcomes for these patients,” Puts explains.
At present time, there is no evidence that indicates a CGA can improve quality of life and function for older cancer patients. Puts’ study will determine whether or not CGA is worthwhile and can help improve cancer treatment outcomes for older adults in Canada and around the world.
The study’s research team includes:
Principal Investigators: Martine Puts (U of T), Shabbir Alibhai (UHN), Tina Hsu (The Ottawa Hospital), Johanne Monette ((The Jewish General Hospital, Montreal) and Caroline Mariano (Royal Columbian Hospital)
Co investigators: Monika Krzyzanowska, Eitan Amir, Christine Elser, Anca Prica, Murray Krahn, Janet Papadakos (UHN); Francois Beland, Simon Bergman, Doreen Wan-Chow-Wah (Jewish General Hospital, McGill University); Rama Koneru, Manon Lemonde, Natascha Kozlowski (Lakeridge Health); Ewa Szumacher, Rajin Metha, and Urban Emmenegger (Sunnybrook) .