Are the UK oncology trainees adequately informed about the needs of older people with cancer?

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Background: Outcomes for older people with cancer are poorer in the United Kingdom compared with that in other countries. Despite this, the UK oncology curricula do not have dedicated geriatric oncology learning objectives. This cross-sectional study of UK medical oncology trainees investigates the training, confidence level and attitudes towards treating older people with cancer.

Methods: A web-based survey link was sent to the delegates of a national medical oncology trainee meeting. Responses were collected in October 2011.

Results: The response rate was 93% (64 out of 69). The mean age of the respondents was 32.3 years (range 27-42 years) and 64.1% were female. A total of 66.1% of the respondents reported never receiving training on the particular needs of older people with cancer, 19.4% reported to have received this training only once. Only 27.1% of the trainees were confident in assessing risk to make treatment recommendations for older patients compared with 81.4% being confident to treat younger patients. Even fewer were confident with older patients with dementia (10.2%).

Conclusion: This first study of the UK medical oncology trainees highlights the urgent need for change in curricula to address the complex needs of older people with cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1936-1941
Number of pages6
JournalBJC: British Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
Early online date30 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2013


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