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Senior Adult Oncology Programme

RM Partners is continuing to support the Senior Adult Oncology Programme (SAOP), to deliver personalised intervention care plans for patients aged 70 years and older being considered for systemic anticancer therapy (SACT) at The Royal Marsden. The aim is to reduce complications and side effects and improve the quality of life for those patients receiving systemic anticancer therapy.

The SAOP was initially piloted for breast cancer patients. Subsequently, this innovative programme was rolled out for patients receiving treatment for lung cancer, gastro-intestinal cancers, and renal and skin cancers.  Patients with other types of cancer will be considered for inclusion in future.

Cancer is mostly a disease of older adults, with 50% of cancer incidence and 70% of cancer-related mortality occurring in individuals aged over 65 years. Older individuals are also the fastest growing segment of the general population, and the burden of cancer in this age group is estimated to increase.

The programme involves a dedicated multi-disciplinary team including an oncologist, a clinical nurse specialist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, pharmacist and a dietitian supported by a medical secretary. They work alongside tumour-specific teams, the Adult Psychology Support Service, the speech and language therapy team, the palliative care team, pastoral care and community services to deliver personalised care to older adults with cancer.

This service is designed to:

  • Create individualised medical treatment plans for older patients with cancer
  • Detect the warning signs of not immediately apparent problems and recommend appropriate interventions
  • Provide strategies for reducing treatment-related side effects and increasing day-to-day functional abilities and quality of life
  • Meet the rehabilitative needs of each patient
  • Identify and avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions, including interactions between medications and over-the-counter supplements
  • Provide each patient with an optimised nutrition and lifestyle plan
  • Offer easy access to supportive care professionals to maximise each patient’s social, emotional, spiritual and psychological support
  • Help address issues with support in the community and financial aspects and family/caregiver concerns.

The twin aims in this second full year of funding are:

  • to work with The Royal Marsden to establish the Senior Adult Oncology team as a substantive service within the Trust at both sites (Chelsea and Sutton)
  • to explore the models of senior adult oncology that would work best in the other acute Trusts across west London, with the support of the service at The Royal Marsden, in order to improve the quality of care for older adults being considered for or receiving SACT.

For more information: please contact Maureen McGinn, Senior Project Manager, RM Partners,