Dr. Sonali Smith director Lymphoma Program at the University of Chicago Medical Center Discusses Lymphoma in the Elderly
Sonali Smith, MD, the director Lymphoma Program at the University of Chicago Medical Center discusses lymphoma in the elderly.
Dr. Smith says one of the more recent efforts has been to focus on lymphoma in the elderly. A multi-institutional effort between five different Chicago institutions evaluated 300 patients over the age of 80 that had non-hodgkin's lymphoma. They looked at what kind of treatment the patients had, whether there were any kind of predictors of outcome, and retrospectively incorporated a geriatric assessment. One of the challenges when seeing an elderly patient is deciding if the risks of the treatment is justified and finding the ways to decide whether or not a treatment will help the patient. For a long time oncologists have used the performance status, which Dr. Smith is an eyeball view of whether or not a patient is fit. Using some of the more sophisticated geriatric scales, a physician can tease out elderly patients who may do very well with aggressive therapy.