Cancer care for older Americans is getting a makeover.
When the elderly learn they have cancer, doctors have often assumed they're too frail for treatment. Or they instead recommend harsh therapies tested only in younger patients. But there's a move afoot to change that with special age-related fitness exams.
New guidelines from cancer specialists recommend the evaluations before making treatment decisions for Americans aged 65 and up.
The exams evaluate physical and mental health and social support. They also take into account the patient's desires for life-prolonging treatment regardless of how much time might be left. The idea is to find ways to help patients tolerate treatment, not rule it out.