Utilization of comprehensive geriatric assessment in cancer patients

Cheryl Chia-Hui Chen
Amy Laufer Kenefick, University of Connecticut School of Nursing
Siew Tzuh Tang
Ruth McCorkle

Document Type Article


A growing and diverse aging population, recent advances in research on aging and cancer, and the fact that a disproportional burden of cancer still occurs in people aged 65 years and older have generated great interest in delivering better cancer care for older adults. This is particularly true as more survivors of cancer live to experience cancer as a chronic disease. Cancer and its treatment precipitate classic geriatric syndromes such as falls, malnutrition, delirium, and urinary incontinence. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA), by taking all patient's needs into account and by incorporating patient's wishes for the level of aggressiveness of treatment, offers a model of integrating medical care with social support services. It holds the promise of controlling health care costs while improving quality of care by providing a better match of services to patient needs. Three decades after the CGA was initially developed in England, oncologists have begun taking notice on the potential benefits that CGA might bring to the field of geriatric oncology. This article describes the utilization of the CGA in cancer patients with an eye toward promoting interdisciplinary care for older cancer patients. To set an initial context, a search of computerized databases took place, using "comprehensive geriatric assessment" and "cancer" as keywords. A selection of literature from between 1980 and 2003 was reviewed. Additional articles were identified through the bibliography of relevant articles.