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J Oncol Pract. 2017 Nov;13(11):e900-e908. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2017.022111. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

Hematology-Oncology Fellows' Training in Geriatrics and Geriatric Oncology: Findings From an American Society of Clinical Oncology-Sponsored National Survey.

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University of Rochester, Rochester; State University of New York Upstate, Syracuse, NY; City of Hope, Duarte; University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC; Thomas Jefferson University; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.



Older adults compose the majority of patients with cancer in the United States; however, it is unclear how well geriatrics or geriatric oncology training is being incorporated into hematology-oncology (hem-onc) fellowships.


A convenience sample of hem-onc fellows completed a (written or electronic) survey assessing their education, clinical experiences, and 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.


Forty-five percent of respondents (N = 138) were female, 67% were based in the United States, and most (60%) were past their first year of training. Most fellows rated geriatric oncology as important or very important (84%); however, only 25% reported having access to a geriatric oncology clinic and more than one half (53%) reported no lectures in geriatric oncology. Fellows reported fewer educational experiences in geriatric oncology than in nongeriatric oncology. For example, among procedure-based activities, 12% learned how to perform a geriatric assessment but 78% learned how to perform a bone marrow biopsy ( P < .05). Of those completing the knowledge-based items, 41% were able to identify correctly the predictors of chemotherapy toxicity in older adults with cancer.


Despite the prevalence of cancer in older adults, hem-onc 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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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