Trusted Cancer Navigation for Seniors!

Don’t let cancer get in the way of your retirement!

Every ship needs a navigator to guide them through treacherous waters. Your Survivor-Ship is no different. Your cancer diagnosis requires you to sail in uncharted waters. You can trust a cancer navigator, who, for 46 years has chartered the way forward for thousands of patients like you.

The Grace Gawler Institute offers various levels of seniors cancer navigation services. We suggest beginning with a video consultation to ascertain your needs and explore how we can best help you.

Before committing to conventional treatment all cancer patients over 60 should seek a second opinion

Nearly 50% of new cancer cases occur in people aged 65 years or older, and this number is expected to increase to 58% by 2030. Cancer treatment can be more challenging and complicated for older adults. This is because older adults are more likely to have other chronic health disorders, such as diabetes, chronic inflammatory conditions, or cardiovascular disease.

As we age our repair mechanisms slow down – some of this is due to our genetics and some lifestyle related.  In addition, side effects of other long-term medications may interfere with process of how well we repair and heal our bodies.

Even when you are healthy, your body will most likely respond differently to treatment than a younger person’s body. For example, older adults are more likely to have serious side effects from chemotherapy.

GGI’s ethics policy is to encourage seniors with cancer to get involved with their health and treatment prescriptions, ask questions and question impact on life quality, and potential side effects of recommended oncology treatments.

It may well be there is a gentler option or a dose reduced option for chemotherapy, targeted treatments and even radiation therapy which can have a more severe effect on the skin of senior patients.

These age-related pharmacological differences might require dose adaptations for anticancer drugs with a narrow therapeutic window to maximise efficacy and minimise toxic effects, especially for patients with concomitant diseases or other geriatric impairments. 

Being well informed is a smart survival strategy. ..

Anticancer drugs are not well tolerated in all older patients with cancer. 
Hans Wildiers, Nienke A de Glas – Dept General Medical Oncology, University Hospitals. Leuven, Leuven, Belgium & Department of Medical Oncology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands.  

Studies on new anticancer drugs often inappropriately conclude that these treatments are well tolerated and feasible in the older population with cancer, despite the drug being investigated in only a selection of healthy older patients who are not representative of the true older population. In this Personal View we outline examples of reports that provide misleading information to clinicians, mostly because the tolerance and efficacy were not assessed according to frailty status and only a few people who are frail were included. We also provide solutions on how to inform clinicians, patients, and health authorities more clearly about the benefits and disadvantages of new and upcoming anticancer drugs for older people with cancer. Link to full article. Source The Lancet

We help our patients access precision or personalised cancer medicine thus reducing the need for one size fits all treatments

Senior patients - lower dose chemotherapy proves as effective

One patient recently wrote to us, “I’m 77 & want to spend more years dancing with my lovely partner. Can I fight my cancer without severe side-effects? “

The answer is an emphatic yes: At the Grace Gawler Institute we draw on Grace’s 46 years experience helping patients navigate the gentle cancer maze. 

Minimally Invasive Treatments: 
Grace Gawler has always taken a compassionate approach to seniors with cancer. This has led her to investigate a wide range of minimally invasive treatments available in Australia New Zealand.

If any of these “age-related” issues ring true for you & you would like to organise a second opinion regarding your cancer treatment; contact Grace 

Prof Ian Olver – Treatment ethics for older patients:

A patient will expect to be allowed to make an autonomous decision about chemotherapy (radiotherapy) but will be reliant on accurate information about the potential risks and benefits.” Click for full article by former chief executive officer of Cancer Council Australia Dr Ian Olver

Cancer Research UK – Less chemotherapy better for older patients with some advanced cancers…

Less chemotherapy is as effective at controlling disease for elderly or frail patients with advanced cancer of the stomach or oesophagus (food pipe), and leads to fewer side effects such as diarrhoea and lethargy. Results from the trial could change the standard of care for patients who can’t have full dose chemotherapy due to their age, frailty or medical fitness. Cancer Research UK funded study, presented prior to the ASCO conference. Click for full article

Be Proactive - Don't let cancer get in the way of your retirement

Talk to Grace, our experienced cancer navigator today. Most patients say it was a life changing conversation & only wish they found her sooner...