Geriatric oncology in Spain: survey results and analysis of the current situation.

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Geriatric oncology (GO) is a discipline that focuses on the management of elderly patients with cancer. The Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) created a Working group dedicated to geriatric oncology in February 2016. The main goal of this study was to describe the current situation in Spain regarding the management of elderly cancer patients through an online survey of medical oncologists. A descriptive survey was sent to several hospitals by means of the SEOM website. A personal e-mail was also sent to SEOM members. Between March 2016 and April 2017, 154 answers were collected. Only 74 centers (48%) had a geriatrics department and a mere 21 (14%) medical oncology departments had a person dedicated to GO. The vast majority (n = 135; 88%) had the perception that the number of elderly patients with cancer seen in clinical practice had increased. Eighteen (12%) oncologists had specific protocols and geriatric scales were used at 55 (31%) centers. Almost all (92%) claimed to apply special management practices using specific tools. There was agreement that GO afforded certain potential advantages. Finally, 99% of the oncologists surveyed believed it and that training in GO had to be improved. From the nationwide survey promoted by the Spanish Geriatric Oncology Working Group on behalf of SEOM, we conclude that there is currently no defined care structure for elderly cancer patients. There is an increasing perception of the need for training in GO. This survey reflects a reality in which specific needs are perceived.
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Geriatric oncology, Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), Spanish Working Group in Geriatric Oncology, Spanish survey