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Norwegian study finds many clinical oncologists do not correctly identify patient frailty

Clinicians' assessments could miss non-cancer related factors that affect prognosis

Clinical oncologists do not correctly identify and appraise their patient’s frailty in almost half of all their patients, according to this Norwegian study, and the use of a more methodical assessment by measures such as the modified geriatric assessment could improve decision-making regarding treatment and overall outcomes.

Almost 300 patients living with cancer completed formal baseline assessment undertaken by nurses of eight domains. These included activities of daily living, nutritional status, physical health, co-morbidity, medication use and geriatric depression. Oncologists were asked to evaluate the patient as fit, intermediate or frail.

Meaningful difference was found between the formal results and the oncologists’ clinical judgements. Cancer-related factors tended to be accentuated in the physician’s clinical assessment, however the shortcomings of the assessment meant other aspects linked to the robustness and related vulnerability of the patient were not addressed.

This meant that problems that


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