26 Apr

PhD Defence Doris Lijsbeth van Abbema

Supervisors: Prof. dr. V.C.G. Tjan-Heijnen, Prof. dr. M. van den Akker

Co-supervisor: Dr. F. van den Berkmortel

Keywords: Older patients, Cancer, Functional outcomes, Survival, Chemotherapy

"Bridging the age gap Impact of age on treatment, survival and patient outcomes in older patients with cancer"

The global increase in cancer among older individuals and the significant impact of aging on this disease's risk are the motivations for this thesis. The underrepresentation of older adults in clinical studies has resulted in a lack of knowledge about treatment effects that are important for this age group. Using data from the Dutch Cancer Registry (NCR) and the Cancer in LIMburger Elderly Project (KLIMOP) study, this thesis examines how age influences treatment, survival, and functional outcomes. The findings indicate that older patients are less likely to receive chemotherapy and more likely to experience a decrease in their functional status compared to younger patients. While older patients do not have a higher risk of depression or cognitive impairments than younger patients, these aspects worsen one year after diagnosis. The thesis reveals that age significantly affects differences in treatment and survival, underscoring the importance of considering patient-specific factors in treating older patients with cancer. This thesis contributes to improving clinical practices and patient outcomes, offering valuable insights into enhancing care for this expanding patient group.

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