, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 43-49
Date: 21 Apr 2011

Comorbidity – an important domain in elderly cancer patients' assessment

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Summary

Increasing life expectancy results in an increased number of elderly cancer patients. Comorbidity is one of several domains in the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA), which supports the appraisal of the patient's individual health characteristics, especially due to the fact that chronological age does not always correlate with the patient's health. The Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) recommends the CGA in cancer patients older than seventy years. Comorbidities influence patients' risk for malignancy and their prognosis when suffering from cancer. Secondly, organ dysfunctions as renal, hepatic, cardiac and bone marrow insufficiencies have to be considered while planning and administering a systemic antineoplastic therapy due to an increased probability of toxicity and side effects. Renal and hepatic impairment often result in dose reduced antineoplastic treatment, whereas in patients with cardiac insufficiency liposomal substances and in patients with decreased bone marrow function growth factors are available. Nevertheless, an early consultation of palliative care experts simultaneously to anti-cancer therapy is advisable.