Frailty in Older Adults: Assessment, Support, and Treatment Implications in Patients With Cancer

Janine Overcash

Diane G. Cope

Janet H. Van Cleave

geriatric oncology, frail, comprehensive geriatric assessment, cancer, older adult
CJON 2018, 22(6), 8-18. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.S2.8-18

Background: Frailty is defined as a disability in those of advanced age, often with comorbidities, poor nutritional status, cognitive decline, and reduced functional status.

Objectives: The purpose of this article is to discuss the concept of frailty, assess the use of a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA), and understand the implications for treatment to maintain or enhance physical, functional, and cognitive health of older adult patients with cancer.

Methods: Literature about frailty in older adult patients diagnosed with cancer was reviewed to determine evidence-based assessment and treatment options.

Findings: About half of all older adult patients with cancer experience some degree of frailty. CGA is a useful way to evaluate frailty and the extent of limitations. Many frailty-specific tools have been developed. Evidence-based strategies are available to address limitations associated with frailty in older adult patients with cancer.

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