Barriers to cancer care in nursing homes

McMaster Optimal Aging Portal
Description / Summary

It is common to hear that cancer develops slowly in older adults, or that the side effects of treatment do not justify subjecting them to treatments. Stopping cancer screening programs at a certain age, often around age 75, does not mean that older adults are less likely to develop cancer.

The reality, however, is that the incidence of developing cancer increases with age and that untreated cancer can have negative effects on the quality of life. After a certain age, it is true that screening does not necessarily reduce cancer-related mortality and that the harms may outweigh the potential benefits, but it must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Thanks to treatments and other therapeutic innovations, cancer has become somewhat of a chronic disease. The fact remains that the management of cancer cases in nursing homes is a major challenge.