Oncology Programs Focus on Needs of Older Patients

April 23, 2012

The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the increased need for specialized programs for older adults with cancer. Older patients are a distinctive patient group. Some cancers are more aggressive in the elderly. Some are less. Some are more responsive to treatment than in younger patients, others more resistant. David Mintzer, MD, chief, Hematology-Oncology at Pennsylvania Hospital, is quoted in the article which also reports on the newest addition to geriatric oncology programs in the region at Thomas Jefferson Hospital. Mintzer, who developed and directs the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital’s Living Well Program for Older Adults with Cancer at Pennsylvania Hospital, thinks there’s still a long way to go to fully address the needs of this growing population. Interest in geriatric oncology, says Mintzer, “is disproportionately low when you look at the demographics. You don’t see a lot of hospitals and health systems investing in this.” Yet 60 percent of cancer strikes those 65 or older and the U.S. elderly population continues to grow. “When I started in this field, people didn’t send me 80- to 85-year-olds,” said Mintzer, who began practicing in 1984. He see patients that age every day now... Read More