Current Oncology Reports

, 18:51 | Cite as

Supportive Care in Older Adults with Cancer: Across the Continuum

  • Thuy Koll
  • Mackenzi Pergolotti
  • Holly M. Holmes
  • Huibrie C. Pieters
  • G.J. van Londen
  • Zachary A. Marcum
  • Amy R. MacKenzie
  • Christopher B. SteerEmail author
Geriatric Oncology (AR MacKenzie, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Geriatric Oncology


Supportive care is an essential component of anticancer treatment regardless of age or treatment intent. As the number of older adults with cancer increases, and supportive care strategies enable more patients to undergo treatment, greater numbers of older patients will become cancer survivors. These patients may have lingering adverse effects from treatment and will need continued supportive care interventions. Older adults with cancer benefit from geriatric assessment (GA)-guided supportive care interventions. This can occur at any stage across the cancer treatment continuum. As a GA commonly uncovers issues potentially unrelated to anticancer treatment, it could be argued that the assessment is essentially a supportive care strategy. Key aspects of a GA include identification of comorbidities, assessing for polypharmacy, screening for cognitive impairment and delirium, assessing functional status, and screening for psychosocial issues. Treatment-related issues of particular importance in older adults include recognition of increased bone marrow toxicity, management of nausea and vomiting, identification of anemia, and prevention of neurotoxicity. The role of physical therapy and cancer rehabilitation as a supportive care strategy in older adults is important regardless of treatment stage or intent.


Supportive care Geriatric oncology Older adults Cancer Geriatric assessment-guided intervention Survivorship 


Compliance with Ethical Standard

Conflict of Interest

Thuy Koll, Mackenzi Pergolotti, Holly M. Holmes, Huibrie C. Pieters, GJ van Londen, Zachary A. Marcum, Amy R. MacKenzie, and Christopher B. Steer declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thuy Koll
    • 1
  • Mackenzi Pergolotti
    • 2
  • Holly M. Holmes
    • 3
  • Huibrie C. Pieters
    • 4
  • G.J. van Londen
    • 5
  • Zachary A. Marcum
    • 6
  • Amy R. MacKenzie
    • 7
  • Christopher B. Steer
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Internal Medicine Division of Geriatric MedicineUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Outcomes Research Group, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, UTHealthThe University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, McGovern Medical SchoolHoustonUSA
  4. 4.School of NursingUCLALos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  6. 6.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  7. 7.Department of Medical Oncology, Division of Regional Cancer CareThomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  8. 8.Border Medical OncologyWodongaAustralia

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