Ongoing Geriatric Assessment Study Evaluates Care of
results support the value of geriatric assessment in determining
the risk and benefits of cancer treatment in older adults. A brief
geriatric tool consisting of valid and reliable measures has been
developed in the community. A group of UNC Lineberger researchers
compared the differences between geriatric oncology patients at
academic versus community based oncology practices in North
2009 - 2011, a total of 386 patients were recruited - 283 were from
UNC and 103 were from community clinics. Through the outreach of
the UNC Cancer Network, several community practices participated
including Nash, New Bern, Marion Shepherd, Rex Healthcare,
Asheville, Seby B. Jones, Dare County, and Rex Wakefield.
suggest that community oncology clinics may treat more older and
less functional cancer patients than academic medical centers,
which may represent referral patterns. Given community oncology
clinics see a large portion of elderly cancer patients, the use of
geriatric assessment is especially important to determine which
patients would benefit from aggressive or palliative therapy.
Future directions include providing constant feedback to oncology
physicians with simplified results of geriatric asseessment domains
and evaluating changes in physician practice and outcomes.
more about the ongoing LCCC0916 Carolina Senior study.
Fellows Training in Geriatrics as part of the UNC
Lineberger Geriatric Oncology Training Program
In 2011, the UNC
for Aging and Health/Division of Geriatric Medicine received
its second four-year $1.5 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds
Foundation to develop a program entitled “Next Steps in Physicians’
Training in Geriatrics.”
population ages, 40-50 percent of specialists’ patients will be
older,” explains Jan
Busby-Whitehead, MD, professor of medicine, director of the UNC
Center for Aging and Health and principal investigator. “These
patients have complex needs due to the number of chronic conditions
they have and the number of medicines they take."
support of this grant, all current and future Hematology/Oncology
fellows will get training in the basic principles of geriatric care
as well as participating in interactive case presentations with
faculty. "The fellows study basic geriatric principles such as
falls and dementia and apply them to current oncology
treatment," says Hy Muss, MD, director of UNC's Geriatric
Oncology Program. "They are the workforce and leadership of
addition to the support of Dr. Busby-Whitehead and the UNC
Geriatrics Division, we have developed a three-year Geriatric
Oncology program that offers the opportunity for Board
Certification in both Geriatrics and Medical Oncology. Trevor
Jolly, MD, and Grant Williams, MD, are currently trainees in this
program. Emily Guerard, MD, will join the team this July as a
fellow as well.
The UNC Lineberger Geriatric Oncology Program held its
third annual retreat on November 29, 2012. Program members
presented research and heard scientific presentations from
colleagues at Duke and Wake Forest Universities. The group then
discussed areas of possible collaboration. Pictured from left -
right: Drs. Jan Busby-Whitehead, Hy Muss, Arati Rao (Duke), Harvey
Cohen (Duke), Heidi Klepin (Wake Forest) and Julia Lawrence (Wake
Geriatric Oncology Clinical Trials
Chemotherapy and Radiation for Elderly Patients with Malignant
A Phase II Trial of Bendamustine in Combination with Rituximab in
Older Patients with Previously Untreated Diffuse Large B-cell
Use of Palliative Performance and Symptom Distress Scales in Older
Patients with Advanced Ovarian Cancer
Predicting Outcomes of Cystectomy and Chemotherapy in Older
Patients with Bladder Cancer
Predicting Outcomes of Radiation Therapy in Older Patients with
Head and Neck Cancer
Biologic and Geriatric Assessment Predictors of Toxicity in Older
Patients with Head and Neck Cancer
information about Geriatric Oncology clinical trials at UNC, call
919-966-4432. For more information about Geriatric Oncology
clinical trials offered offsite, call 919-966-7359.
Core Lectures in Geriatrics Available
Lectures in Geriatrics: The Alliance for Geriatric Education in
Specialties (“AGES”) Curriculum was developed for a grant to
UNC-Chapel Hill from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation (Las Vegas,
Presentations focus on such topics as delirium, dementia, geriatric
assessment, physiology of aging, latrogenic injuries, medication
use in the older patient, and transitional care. Sit to Stand and
Stand to Walk videos are also available.
all education and training materials.
information about the Geriatric Oncology Program, including how to
refer a patient, visit
the program's website.