Updated SIOG priorities for the global advancement of care for older adults with cancer

September 2021 Clinical Practice Tobias Rawson

Editor’s pick of Hans Wildiers, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, University hospital Leuven

In 2011, the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) published the SIOG 10 Priorities Initiative, which defined top priorities for the improvement of the care of older adults with cancer worldwide. As many progress has been made since then, SIOG has updated its priority list and hopes that it will offer guidance for international and national endeavours to provide adequate universal health coverage for older adults with cancer.

The SIOG 10 Priorities Initiative

In 2011, the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) published the SIOG 10 Priorities Initiative to define the top priorities for the advancement of geriatric oncology worldwide. This document was created to guide policymaking and to develop education, clinical practice and research. Since 2011, a substantial amount of progress has been made in geriatric oncology research. For example, SIOG and other expert societies such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, European Society for Medical Oncology, and US National Comprehensive Cancer Network have developed guidelines and consensus statements on the basis of current and relevant clinical research to provide evidence-based care for older people with cancer. In addition, the number of geriatric oncology programmes has increased. However, as the number of people older than 60 years will continue to increase, chronic diseases such as cancer have become a major public health issue. Furthermore, international health policy developments have occurred, such as the shift of emphasis by WHO from communicable to non-communicable diseases and the adoption by the UN of its Sustainable Development Goals 2030. As there thus still is a need to continue the development of initiatives to improve the quality of care for older adults with cancer, and to translate them into broad standards of care, the SIOG recognised the need to update its 10 Priorities Initiative. An international multidisciplinary working group was established at the end of 2018 representing medical oncology, geriatrics, surgery, radiation oncology, anaesthesiology, nursing, and patient advocacy. Input was sought from international health organisations, professional societies, and patient groups.

Below you can find a summary of the updated SIOG Top Priorities for the global advancement of care for older adults with cancer.

The updated SIOG Top Priorities

Education

  • Priority 1: integrate geriatric oncology into medical, nursing, and allied health professionals schools and residency training programmes, and promote involvement of trainees in research
  • Priority 2: provide educational material and organise formal educational activities focused on geriatric oncology for practising health-care professionals
  • Priority 3: educate the general public about the relevance of providing age-appropriate care for older adults with cancer

Clinical practice

  • Priority 4: develop and implement models to provide optimal care for older adults with cancer
  • Priority 5: develop guidelines for the optimal treatment of older adults with cancer
  • Priority 6: establish centres of excellence in geriatric oncology for delivering clinical care, conducting clinical and translational research, and providing educational opportunities

Research

  • Priority 7: improve the relevance of clinical trials to older adults with cancer
  • Priority 8: evaluate the benefits of geriatric assessment-allocated treatments and geriatric co-management in improving treatment outcomes for older adults with cancer
  • Priority 9: use personalised medicine technologies to enhance cancer understanding and management of older adults

Collaborations and partnerships

  • Priority 10: develop and strengthen links between SIOG and the geriatric oncology workforce, international specialised agencies, global and regional professional organisations, policy makers, and patient advocacy groups
  • Priority 11: promote the inclusion of specific provisions for delivering high-quality, evidence-based care for older adults in national cancer control plans
  • Priority 12: create global funding mechanisms aimed at fostering professional development of the geriatric oncology workforce and promoting research on the interface of cancer and ageing

Conclusion

The SIOG strives to harmonise its updated 12 priorities with other global agendas, notably UHC and SDG3. The SIOG Top Priorities Initiative fits into the broad and long-term achievements of SIOG and its partners as well as worldwide efforts that have been progressing over the past decade. These goals can be achieved by building large and sustainable international networks for ultimately attaining worldwide health coverage for all.

Reference

Extermann M, Brain E, Canin B, et al. Priorities for the global advancement of care for older adults with cancer: an update of the International Society of Geriatric Oncology Priorities Initiative. Lancet Oncol. 2021;22:e29-36.

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