Older patients with cancer – experts chat about this important speciality crossover

2 minute read

Geriatric oncology is ‘a principal part of cancer medicine’, and it comes with specific challenges, including inherent bias.

Older adults account for the majority of people living with and surviving cancer. This episode of the Oncology Republic Podcast explores how the field of geriatric oncology has grown in Australia, and some of the challenges it faces.

Dr Paul Viray, a consultant geriatrician and medical oncology registrar who works across several sites in Victoria, says the geriatric oncology community in Australia has grown because of increased awareness about managing older patients in a more holistic fashion.

“If you spend a bit more time in the holistic care of the older adult, it’s so rewarding. And I think a lot of people want to do that more and more.”

Dr Michael Krasovitsky, chair of the Geriatric Oncology Multidisciplinary Service at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, feels our nation’s “abysmal” funding model for geriatric oncology means we become reliant on having an engaged and inclusive community.

“Navigating the funding arrangements are extremely difficult, and ultimately to the detriment of patients. You need to come up with some sort of fake model of care that works in your specific hospital situation, which requires local champions often begging administrators to provide funding.

“We now have our geriatric oncology emerging experts and researchers group,  researching and collaborating with overseas clinicians. That’s been really invaluable.”

If you are interested in joining or would like more information about the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia’s Geriatric Oncology Community of Practice, please contact Dr Paul Viray via thevirayway@gmail.com.

You can listen and subscribe to the show by searching for the “Oncology Republic Podcast” in your favourite podcast player. Keep an eye and ear out for part two of our geriatric oncology chat!

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