Letter from Christopher Steer, MBBS, FRACP Print Email

Letter from Christopher Steer, MBBS, FRACP

The SIOG Annual Conference remains the key international meeting for experts in the field to share their research and expertise. This year, the conference was held after the publication of the ASCO Guidelines recommending geriatric assessment in all older adults being considered for chemotherapy. The ASCO meeting in June also featured the presentation of a key randomized controlled trial, by Supriya Mohile, MD, confirming that geriatric assessment improves communication about age-related health concerns (1).

Many of us in the field share the opinion that geriatric oncology is "all about supportive care" and that interventions guided by geriatric assessment should form the cornerstone of the management of all older adults with cancer. This personalized approach was certainly the dream and the goal of former SIOG President, and our colleague, mentor, and friend, Arti Hurria, MD, who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident on November 7th, one week before the SIOG conference.

The death of Arti Hurria stunned the global geriatric oncology community and, at the meeting in Amsterdam, we mourned our loss and commemorated her unparalleled leadership and dedication to the field. As another global leader in geriatric oncology, Supriya Mohile, MD, stated in a commemorative speech, “Arti is irreplaceable, but now we will all need to come together and work hard to continue her legacy." The global oncology community will feel the loss of Arti Hurria for years to come, but her death has galvanized those of us in the field to realize her vision and improve the care of all older adults with cancer.

While we know that “supportive care makes excellent cancer care possible,” it is the mantra of those working in the field of geriatric oncology that “adequate assessment yields appropriate treatment.”

Christopher Steer, MBBS, FRACP, is a medical oncologist at Border Medical Oncology, Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre in Albury, New South Wales, Australia. He is currently Chair of MASCC’s Geriatrics Study Group and a member of our Information and Communications Committee.

  1. Mohile SG et al. Improving communication with older patients with cancer using geriatric assessment (GA): A University of Rochester NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) cluster randomized controlled trial (CRCT). University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY. https://meetinglibrary.asco.org/record/159519/abstract