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J Oncol Pract. 2007 January; 3(1): 51.
PMCID: PMC2793717

Disparities in Cancer Care for Older Adults

Noelle K. LoConte, MD, Assistant Professor

In regards to the September 2006 issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice about disparities in cancer care, I was dismayed to see that you did not include older adults, particularly the very old, among your highlighted populations. The disparity in elderly accrual to clinical trials actually exceeds the disparity of racial minorities.1 The magnitude of this under-accrual is likely to increase as the baby boomers continue to age, and it is an issue that deserves special emphasis. In addition, older patients are undertreated, stage for stage, off protocol, even when controlling for comorbidity.2 I would hope in similar future issues you lend more time and reflection to these important geriatric issues.


1. Hutchins LF, Unger JM, Crowley JJ, et al: Underrepresentation of patients 65 years of age or older in cancer-treatment trials. N Engl J Med 341:2061-2067, 1999. [PubMed]
2. Schrag D, Gelfand SE, Bach PB, et al: Who gets adjuvant treatment for stage II and III rectal cancer? Insight from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results—Medicare. J Clin Oncol 19:3712-3718, 2001. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Oncology Practice are provided here courtesy of American Society of Clinical Oncology