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Colon Cancer: Caring for the Aging

Published October 1, 2005

Some of the key findings from the survey are outlined below:

  • Six out of 10 (62.9%) colon cancer patients are 65 years or older.
  • 64% of physicians strongly or somewhat agree that elderly colon cancer patients have a more difficult time managing their disease than younger patients.
  • 41% of physicians strongly or somewhat agree that these patients do not ask the most relevant questions concerning their disease management.
  • 77% of physicians agree that colon cancer patients 65+ experienced a better outcome when a caregiver was involved due to increased communication.
  • 81% said that they depend on caregivers a great deal or somewhat to act as an intermediary between themselves and their 65+ patients.
  • Nearly all of the physicians (97%) consider the caregiver an ally.
  • All physicians (100%) perceive the caregiver as part of the team involved in the management of elderly colon cancer patients.
  • 90% of physicians feel that the caregiver has a moderate to major impact on the decision-making process related to the patient’s disease management.
  • However, only around 64% of colon cancer patients 65+ have the support of a caregiver.
  • A spouse or partner is most often the caregiver (92%).
  • The caregivers most often:
    • Provide emotional support for the patient (94%);
    • Participate in doctor’s visits and in decisions about disease management options (89%); and
    • Transport the patient to and from doctor’s appointments (90%).