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Research project: Improving assessment and treatment for older people with breast and colorectal cancer in North East London

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This action research study focuses on the development and evaluation of a service improvement programme targeted at enhancing cancer treatment assessment and support for older people in North East London with a new diagnosis of breast or colorectal cancer.

The overall aim of this action research study is to implement and evaluate a service improvement programme targeted at enhancing cancer treatment assessment and support for older people in North East London with a new diagnosis of breast or colorectal cancer.  It seeks to answer the principal research question:
How can cancer treatment, assessment and support for older people with a diagnosis of cancer be improved?

The objectives are:

  1. To describe the characteristics of older people with a new diagnosis of breast or colorectal cancer
  2. To assess the contribution of comprehensive geriatric assessment in evaluating an older person's fitness to undergo treatment for breast and colorectal cancer;
  3. To assess the impact of facilitating practical support to older people to enable them to access treatment;
  4. To identify and address the training needs of all professionals working with older people in order to promote age equality and positive staff-patient-relative relationships.

Data collection will include the results of a range of screening instruments administered to patients aged 70+ years with a new diagnosis of breast or colorectal cancer (Barthel Index, SAOP 2, Mini nutritional assessment, Geriatric depression score, MMSE, ECOG Performance Status, Charlson comorbidity index).  A record will also be kept of their treatment journey, including their experiences of clinical and support services provided, and their quality of life at key points (using EORTC QLQ-C30 and ELD-15).  Focus groups and qualitative telephone interviews will also be conducted with staff involved in delivering care and treatment to this client group throughout the period of study. The study will run for 20 months from May 2011.

Project team

Dr Jackie Bridges, Senior Lecturer
Jennifer Layburn, North East London Cancer Network
Paul Trevatt, North East London Cancer Network
Dr Mike Gill, Newham University Hospital NHS Trust
Dr Sherif Raouf, Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
Dr Sarah Slater, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust/Barts and The London NHS Trust
Dr Michael Machesney, Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust

Project funder

Department of Health and Macmillan Cancer Support

Related research groups

Health Work and Systems
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