Dr. Muss on Using Tools to Evaluate Older Patients
Hyman B. Muss, MD
Published Online: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Hyman B. Muss, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director of Geriatric Oncology, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, discusses evaluation tools for treating older patients.
Muss says that there will not be any more money to train geriatricians or for doctors to take courses to learn how to care for older patients. When a doctor is uncertain about treating older patients, Muss encourages them to use available tools to estimate survival. An excellent tool, Muss says, is ePrognosis.org, which allows a doctor to input information and come away with a survival estimate.
New tools that are being tested include models that can predict chemotherapy toxicity. Muss believes existing tools and those on the horizon allow for a doctor to get a frame of reference for treatment.
An updated guideline from ASCO regarding the use of sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in early stage breast cancer supports the use of the procedure over axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in a larger group of patients than previously recommended.