All adult oncologists are now geriatric oncologists. This is no longer a niche field with only a few dedicated researchers. The demographic shift brought on by the baby boomer generation has already happened and is creating a rapid increase in the population of adults older than 65 years of age. In the United States only, 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65 years each day, and those older than age 80 are the fastest growing segment of the population. This demographic change and aging as an established risk factor for the development of cancer will result in a marked increase in the number of older patients with cancer. The dramatic increase in the number of these patients will further strain our health care system, not only monetarily but also by the increased manpower needed to adequately care for them.
Older patients with cancer, particularly those older than age 70 years, have specific needs that are not present in younger patients. It is well established that the traditional oncology evaluation is not adequate and will fail to uncover many specific problems.1 Geriatric assessment will no longer be the purview of the geriatrician but will need to be incorporated into daily practice in all oncology fields. Therefore, we all need to become well-educated geriatric oncologists.2
Ref: Stuart M. Lichtman, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; J Clinical Oncology 33:1422-1423, 2015
The International Society of Geriatric Oncology, or Société Internationale d’Oncologie Gériatrique in French, hence the acronym SIOG, was founded in 2000 and was officially registered as a Not-for-profit organisation under the Swiss law in October 2012. SIOG is a multidisciplinary society, including physicians in the fields of oncology and geriatrics, and allied health professionals and has over 5000 community members in more than 75 countries around the world.
The major risk factor for cancer is age, and with the aging of the world population, a major epidemiologic challenge is before us.
Mission & Vision
The goal of SIOG is to foster the development of health professionals in the field of geriatric oncology, in order to optimize treatment of older adults with cancer.
SIOG promotes efforts in 3 strategic directions:
- Disseminate knowledge in order to maintain a high common standard of healthcare in older cancer patients
- Integrate geriatric oncology in the curricula for medical and nursing education to ensure a high standard of qualification for healthcare professionals
- Address the shortage of specialist oncologists/geriatricians & allied health staff in geriatric oncology
- Increase public awareness of the worldwide cancer in the elderly epidemic
2. Clinical practice
- Integrate geriatric evaluation (including comorbidities) into oncology decision-making and guidelines
- Improve the quality of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of older patients with malignancies
- Address issues of access to care, including the needs of the caregiver
- Develop interdisciplinary geriatric oncology clinics
- Develop, test and disseminate easy screening tools
- Create a clear and operational definition of vulnerability/frailty applicable to oncology
- Increase the relevance of clinical trials for older patients
- Improve research in the field of geriatric oncology
- Promote multidisciplinary, basic/translational research on the interface of aging and cancer
The founding members were: Paul Calabresi, Matti Aapro, Gilbert Zulian, Lazzaro Repetto, Martine Extermann, John Bennett, Riccardo Audisio, Lodovico Balducci and Silvio Monfardini.
More background information on geriatric oncology and SIOG in this interview of Prof. Matti Aapro by ecancer (14.04.2011)
SIOG Statutes - The SIOG Statutes were adopted in October 2012 and modified in October 2014. Please download a copy:
Dr Paul Calabresi Award - for more information, click here.