Background: Population aging is one of the most distinctive demographic events of this century. United Nations projections suggest that the number of older persons is expected to increase by more than double from 841 million in 2013 to >2 billion by 2050. It is estimated that 60% of the elderly patients may be affected by cancer and may present in the advanced stage. The aim of this paper was to develop a brief cancer-specific comprehensive geriatric assessment tool for use in a geriatric population with advanced cancer that would identify the various medical, psychosocial, and functional issues in the older person.Methods: Literature on assessment of geriatric needs in an oncology setting was reviewed such that validated tools on specific domains were identified and utilized. The domains addressed were socioeconomic, physical symptoms, comorbidity, functional status, psychological status, social support, cognition, nutritional status and spiritual issues. Validated tools identified were Kuppuswamy scale (socioeconomic), Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (Physical symptoms) and SAKK cancer-specific geriatric assessment tool, which included six standard geriatric measures covering five geriatric domains (comorbidity, functional status, psychological status, social support, cognition, nutritional status). The individual measures were brief, reliable, and valid and could be administered by the interviewer.Conclusion: The tool was developed for use under the geriatric palliative care project of the department of palliative medicine at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. We plan to test the feasibility of the tool in our palliative care set-up, conduct a needs assessment study and based on the needs assessment outcome institute a comprehensive geriatric palliative care project and reassess outcomes.
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