Ageism in Cancer Care
Online Forum

  • GROUP Geriatric Oncology
  • DATE 22/11/2022

Tackling Ageism in Cancer Care

COSA hosted an online multidisciplinary forum over two evenings on 22 and 29 November 2022, 7:00-8:30pm AEDT. This initiative, led by Dr Michael Krasovitsky and COSA's Geriatric Oncology Emerging Experts and Researchers Group, was developed as a means of progressing COSA's Geriatric Oncology Group’s agenda to improve outcomes for older adults with cancer, and it builds upon the advocacy piece submitted for Cancer Australia’s Australian Cancer Plan. The Forum focused on the increasingly recognised concept of Ageism. Ageism represents how we feel about, act towards, and discriminate against older people, both consciously and subconsciously. As a community, it is our responsibility to understand and tackle this all-to-common form of bigotry. We believe that if we face our ageist biases and proactively work to reduce, even eliminate, our devaluation of older adults, we can achieve person-centred, equity-focused and evidence-based care that improves outcomes for older Australians with cancer.

More information

The inaugural COSA Ageism Forum brought together multidisciplinary cancer clinicians, geriatricians, consumers and world-leading ageism experts to facilitate an open and respectful discussion of how ageism affects our patients, and our colleagues.

The Forum took place over two evenings and four interactive sessions, with each involving a multidisciplinary conversation regarding real-world ageism, and its impact on patient outcomes, experience and systems of practice.


Recordings are available to COSA members (you will need to login to access)

Evening 1

Evening 2

Tuesday 22 November panel:

Session 1:

Ageism in the multidisciplinary care of the older individual with cancer

Chair Dr Michael Krasovitsky
Co-Chair Ms Simone Ray
Medical Oncologist Dr Sharon Nahm
Radiation Oncologist Prof Shalini Vinod
Surgical Oncologist Dr Chris Lehane
Clinical Trials Expert Prof Martin Stockler
Clinical Cancer Care Nurse Ms Mary Duffy AM
Geriatrician Dr Heather Lane
Patient Representative Mr Tony Maxwell
Ageism Expert Dr Neil Jeyasingam

Session 2:

Ageism in the supportive care, survivorship, and palliative care of the older individual with cancer

Chair Dr Polly Dufton
Co-Chair Dr Heather Lane
Palliative & Supportive Care Clinician Dr Antony Kodsi
Exercise Clinician Ms Jane Turner
Survivorship Expert Prof Bogda Koczwara AM
General Practitioner A/Prof Joel Rhee
Cancer Care Nurse Consultant Ms Simone Ray
Geriatrician Dr Kheng Soo
Patient Representative Mr James Butler OAM
Ageism Expert Dr Lisa Mitchell

Tuesday 29 November panel:

Session 3:

Ageism in the nursing and comprehensive allied health care of the older individual with cancer   

Chair A/Prof Christopher Steer
Co-Chair Dr Sharon Nahm
Medical Oncologist Dr Isobel Porter
Cancer nurse-researcher Dr Polly Dufton
Professor of Cancer Nursing Prof Mei Krishnasamy
Social Worker Ms Kim Hobbs
Psycho-Oncology Researcher Ms Sharon He
Occupational therapist Ms Stella Snape-Jenkinson
Nutrition Expert Ms Elise Treleaven
Geriatrician  Dr Gina Tuch
Ageism Expert Prof Sarah Kagan
Patient Representative Mr James Butler OAM

Session 4:

Systems of practice, and societal pressures & norms, for older patients with cancer 

Chair Prof Mei Krishnasamy
Co-Chair Ms Jacqueline Lesage
Hospital Administrator & Geriatrician Prof Christopher Etherton-Beer
COSA Representative A/Prof Dion Forstner
Clinical Governance Mr Edward Elkins
Clinical Ethics Dr Lisa Mitchell
Medical Oncologist Dr Michael Krasovitsky
Ageism Expert Prof Liat Ayalon
Ageism Expert Dr David Panter
Geriatrician Dr Angela Khoo

Below is a selection of reports, papers, podcasts and articles to help raise awareness and increase understanding of ageism issues:

Ageism in Cancer Care podcast by The Oncology Podcast

Dr Michael Krasovitsky spoke to Oncology Podcast host Rachael Babin off the back of the COSA ASM. They discuss how ageism affects older adults with cancer, the impact bias has on treatment options and outcomes and strategies to combat ageism in ourselves and others.

Cancer experts assemble to dismantle ageism - 2 November 2022 media release

Associations of Ageism and Health: A Systematic Review of Quantitative Observational Studies

Australian Human Rights Commission – New research finds ageism in the most accepted form of prejudice in Australia

Decision Making in Older Adults With Cancer

Experiences of Everyday Ageism and the Health of Older US Adults

Turning 60 is not ‘end of the road’ but ageism in Australia makes life a challenge for new seniors

World Health Organization – Global report on ageism

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