Leadership Development Program Group Focuses on Geriatric Oncology

Jun 19, 2014

By Payten Carroll, eContent Coordinator

Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, Thomas W. Flaig,
MD, and Beverly Moy, MD, MPH, at the 2013
ASCO Annual Meeting.

ASCO launched its Leadership Development Program (LDP) in 2009 with the goal of providing formal leadership training for those interested in improving their skills and serving in increasingly challenging roles within ASCO and in other organizations.At the request of the ASCO Board of Directors, the 2012-2013 LDP group addressed the major issues and future challenges of geriatric oncology. Their report, “Geriatric Oncology for the21st Century: A Call for Action,” will be published in an upcoming issue of theJournal of Oncology Practice (JOP).

A growing need
Older patients have historically beenunder-represented in clinical trials,which has led to a lack of evidence-baseddata to help oncologists withtreatment decisions. ASCO PastPresident B.J. Kennedy, MD, FASCO,an early advocate for the field, calledfor geriatric oncology research to be apriority for ASCO and for the oncologycommunity decades ago, including acall to action in his 1988 PresidentialAddress. Years later, geriatric oncologyremains more important than ever as asignificant percentage of the U.S. populationmoves into the 65-and-olderbracket just as the oncology workforceis expected to dwindle.

To help prepare the field for the challengesahead, the LDP group’s reportidentifies the priorities within geriatriconcology as they relate to physicianeducation, patient care, and research.Authors conducted interviews with 12geriatric oncology thought leaders andadministered a web-based survey ofoncologists with an interest in geriatricsin both the United States and internationally.

Multifaceted solutions
The authors indicated that simplyincreasing the number of geriatriconcologists in the field would not solvethe problem. Rather, better integrationof geriatric oncology education intocurrent practice should be the focusand, in turn, would provide greaterexposure to the issues currently beingfaced. Additionally, most of the expertsidentified a lack of available resourcesspecific to these issues.

The top priorities defined from thesurvey were the integration of keyprinciples of geriatric care in oncology,looking at the efficacy and toxicityof commonly used cancer therapies,defining who is eligible for receipt, andintegrating comorbidities and functionalstatus into treatment decisions.

According to Beverly Moy, MD, MPH, a2012-2013 LDP graduate, “Our interviewsand surveys of geriatric oncology leaders—a passionate group committedto addressing the unique needs ofan aging population of patients withcancer—helped us to make concreterecommendations on how to tackle thisissue in the 21st century. Our findingsare a call to action to the entire oncologycommunity to improve the qualityof cancer care for older individualswith cancer.”

2012-2013 LDP Participants

Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab, MD
Steven J. Cohen, MD
Thomas W. Flaig, MD
Sanjay Goel, MD
Beverly Moy, MD
Grzegorz S. Nowakowski, MD
Shelby A. Terstriep, MD
Michael Thompson, MD, PhD
Anne S. Tsao, MD
William W. Tse, MD
Jennifer F. Tseng, MD
T. Christopher Windham, MD

View LDP participants for 2013-2014 and2014-2015. Applications for 2015-2016 open July 1, 2014.



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