Background: Elderly cancer patients (those over 60 or 65) have a disproportionate cancer incidence and mortality, and a multitude of symptoms from their cancer, other illnesses, and treatments. We reviewed the literature to find some practical advice for health care professionals to do symptom assessments in routine practice. Patients and methods: Systematic and directed literature review. Results: The available symptom assessment tools are useable, well validated, and in common use but not in the older patient population. Several studies show that if a symptom assessment tool is used, more symptoms will be uncovered and that these tools can be used in routine practice, comparative clinical trials, and to show clinical benefit for new drug approval. Data are not sufficient to choose one tool over another, but all of them work and can uncover symptoms that can be fixed. We believe that it is important to have predetermined best practices for preventing and fixing common symptoms. Conclusion: Symptom assessments and geriatric assessments are useful tools in everyday practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas