Survey on Training in Geriatrics/Geriatric Oncology for Hematology-Oncology Fellows

Results from an ASCO-sponsored survey study indicate that despite professed interest in the area, most hematology-oncology fellows have inadequate training in geriatrics/geriatric oncology. These findings were reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice by Maggiore et al.

Study Details

The written or electronic survey targeted a convenience sample derived from hematology-oncology fellows visiting the trainee and junior faculty lounge at the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting. The survey assessed education, clinical experiences, perceived proficiency in geriatric oncology during training, knowledge base in geriatric oncology, confidence in managing older adults with cancer, and general attitudes toward geriatric oncology principles. Overall, 138 respondents completed the majority of the survey. Of them, 45% were female, 67% were based in the United States, and 60% were beyond the first year of training.

Some highlights of the survey findings follow:

  • 84% rated geriatric oncology as important or very important.
  • 25% reported having access to a geriatric oncology clinic.
  • 53% reported having no lectures in geriatric oncology.
  • 19% had received specific geriatrics training.
  • 12% learned how to perform a geriatric assessment vs 78% learned how to perform a bone marrow biopsy.
  • 26% identified at least four of seven domains in a comprehensive geriatric assessment.
  • 41% identified predictors of chemotherapy toxicity in older adults with cancer.

The investigators concluded: “Despite the prevalence of cancer in older adults, [hematology-oncology] fellows report limited education in or exposure to geriatric oncology. The high value fellows place on geriatric oncology suggests that they would be receptive to additional training in this area.”

Ronald J. Maggiore, MD, of the University of Rochester, Wilmot Cancer Institute, is the corresponding author of the Journal of Oncology Practice article.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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