Clinical and medical oncologists respond to breast cancer care audit focussing on elderly patients

Tuesday 18 July 2017

The Joint Collegiate Council for Oncology (JCCO), which unites clinical and medical oncologists from The Royal College of Radiologists and Royal College of Physicians respectively, has welcomed the first National Audit of Breast Cancer in Older Patients (NABCOP). 

Dr Jeanette Dickson, Vice President of Clinical Oncology at The Royal College of Radiologists and chair of the JCCO, said:

"The JCCO welcomes the publication of the NABCOP audit and the recommendations it makes for breast cancer units, commissioners and royal colleges.

"As people age they often acquire medical conditions which can impact on the safe delivery of anti-cancer therapy. For all, but especially those with other significant medical conditions, care should be personalised according to a patient's particular medical and social circumstances.

"However, the NABCOP audit reveals significant variation in treatment delivery – which is difficult to explain based purely on patient characteristics.

"To optimise treatment for older patients, oncology consultants should be able to access support from geriatricians and other hospital colleagues who specialise in managing the impact of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in those with other medical problems.

"However, this support team may vary from hospital to hospital due to local provision, and we would encourage all medical and clinical oncologists to work with elderly care colleagues to ensure cancer doctors know what expertise is available to them on the ground.

"The RCR and RCP are committed to ensuring our specialist consultants are well-trained in elderly care considerations, and are also working to include more aspects of geriatric oncology care in our respective curriculums."

For further information, please contact Emma Cooper on 020 7406 5941 or email emma_cooper@rcr.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  • To read the full NABCOP report please visit: www.nabcop.org.uk 
  • Clinical oncologists: A clinical oncologist is a medical specialist that is trained in prescribing both radiotherapy and systemic therapies: chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biological therapy and the use of radioactive isotopes to treat patients with cancer.
  • Medical oncologists: Medical oncologists are physicians who specialise in assessing and treating patients with cancer using systemic therapies (chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological therapies).
  • The Joint Collegiate Council for Oncology (JCCO) is the co-ordinating inter-collegiate body for non-surgical oncology in the UK. It is a joint initiative between the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR); the two Colleges containing the major non-surgical specialties involved in managing cancer. Its membership also includes representatives from the Royal College of Pathologists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health/Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group. The JCCO advises the RCP and the RCR on matters relating to service needs, education, staffing and resources for treatment of cancer, and helps to produce specialist input and co-ordinated responses to consultations and matters relating to cancer treatment, prevention and research.