One of William Dale’s healthiest patients was working out three times a week, regularly walking two miles, lifting weights, maintaining a stable body weight of 120 pounds and not on any medications when she was diagnosed with a stage IV ovarian cancer. Dale, MD, PhD, section chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the University of Chicago, said the patient did fine with both surgery and chemotherapy. The fact that she was 89 years old, he said, shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise.
Explore this issue:October 2011
“Sometimes I think people are dismissed as too old when they’re really pretty healthy,” Dr. Dale said. “If she was 65, what would you do? You’d treat her with standard therapy.”
Geriatricians are increasingly delivering that message to otolaryngologists, many of whom aren’t trained in geriatric issues but will be called upon to treat a rapidly aging population. By 2030, in fact, U.S. Census demographers project that one-fifth of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65, compared to 13 percent in 2010. Demand by seniors for otolaryngology-related surgeries, both elective and non-elective, will only continue to grow.| | | Next → | Single Page