INTRODUCTION: A comprehensive geriatric assessment systematically collects information on geriatric conditions and is propagated in oncology as a useful tool when assessing older cancer patients.
OBJECTIVES: The objectives were: (a) to study the prevalence of geriatric conditions in cancer patients aged ≥ 65 years, acutely admitted to a general medicine ward; (b) to determine functional decline and mortality within 12 months after admission; and (c) to assess which geriatric conditions and cancer-related variables are associated with 12-month mortality.
METHODS: This was an observational cohort study of 292 cancer patients aged ≥ 65 years, acutely admitted to the general medicine and oncology wards of two university hospitals and one secondary teaching hospital. Baseline assessments included patient characteristics, reason for admission, comorbidity, and geriatric conditions. Follow-up at 3 and 12 months was aimed at functional decline (loss of one or more activities of daily living [ADL]) and mortality.
RESULTS: The median patient age was 74.9 years, and 95% lived independently; 126 patients (43%) had metastatic disease. A high prevalence of geriatric conditions was found for instrumental ADL impairment (78%), depressive symptoms (65%), pain (65%), impaired mobility (48%), malnutrition (46%), and ADL impairment (38%). Functional decline was observed in 8% and 33% of patients at 3 and 12 months, respectively. Mortality rates were 38% at 3 months and 64% at 12 months. Mortality was associated with cancer-related factors only.
CONCLUSION: In these acutely hospitalized older cancer patients, mortality was only associated with cancer-related factors. The prevalence of geriatric conditions in this population was high. Future research is needed to elucidate if addressing these conditions can improve quality of life.