What is geriatric oncology?
Many older adults with cancer also have other medical problems. Some experience signs of aging that can result in more complications from cancer treatments. Our geriatric oncologists are cancer doctors who work with other experts to help you receive safe, effective, specialized care, while meeting your care goals.
You may benefit from geriatric oncology services if you:
- Have memory loss from problems such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease
- Have frequent falls
- Experience difficulty performing everyday tasks like shopping or preparing meals
- Do not have a support system such as a loved one nearby who can help you keep track of care instructions
- Receive treatment, especially medications, for ongoing medical issues such as diabetes or heart disease
Why choose us for geriatric cancer care?
Our geriatric oncologists first learn about your health history, daily life and treatment goals. Our experience caring for a high volume of older cancer patients helps us detect potential problems before you start treatment.
We work closely with other UT Health San Antonio providers, including primary care doctors for older adults (geriatricians). During cancer treatment, you can continue receiving comprehensive care for other medical conditions. Find out more about geriatrics.
How can geriatric oncologists help me?
Our geriatric oncologists anticipate your needs and work with other cancer specialists to address them. These services may include a geriatric assessment, adjusting care plans or helping you access extra support.
Cancer treatment in older adults
Older adults with cancer face potential complications and other problems. Your specific needs will vary based on the type of treatment you receive.
Cancer drugs (chemotherapy)
Chemotherapy drugs often cause side effects, including digestive problems and mental fog. Older adults are at increased risk for problems that are severe or long-lasting. Our team is in regular contact with you during treatment, so you receive timely services to prevent or treat these problems. Read more about chemotherapy.
Surgery to remove cancer can make your heart or kidneys work harder than usual. We carefully consider whether surgery is right for you. If it is, we may recommend techniques such as robotic surgery that are gentler on your body.
This option breaks up cancer cells using radiation, a type of energy. The side effects are usually less troublesome than with other cancer treatments. If your body is weak from age or other medical conditions, we may recommend a lighter dose of radiation. Find out more about radiation oncology.