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Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine

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Coping with Aging & Cancer

Being an older adult with cancer (OAC) comes with unique challenges, namely dealing with other illnesses, changes in vision and hearing, greater difficulty walking,and changes in relationships. These challenges can make coping with cancer more difficult. To combat this, clinicians and researchers have developed treatments and resources to help patients cope with cancer. However, these treatments are often not available in cancer clinics and hospitals. Dr. Kelly Trevino, Assistant Professor of Psychology in Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, aims to address these issues. The goal of this Division project is to bring attention to this gap in cancer care and to identify barriers to and strategies for improving access of OACs to psychological services.

Meet the Coping with Aging and Cancer Project Team

The Coping with Aging and Cancer project team consists of a multidisciplinary group of healthcare providers, researchers, and patient advocates who are passionate about addressing the complex emotional issues facing OACs. Collectively, the team has experience working with older adults, cancer patients and designing and developing mental health interventions.

The project team is dedicated to improving patient access to comprehensive whole-person care, including resources that promote mental health.

Meet the Expert Panel

The expert panel consists of older adults who have had cancer and their families, researchers, clinicians, and members of advocacy organizations who have volunteered their time to advance this project. These individuals provide unique expertise that informs the work and forward progress of this project.  Their expertise and dedication to improve the care of OACs has been invaluable.

Project Updates

Review of the Research.  The first action of the study team was to review current research on issues related to the mental health care of OACs.  This review collected information on unique challenges faced by OACs, available psychological treatments, and the dissemination and implementation of these treatments.  The study team summarized this information in a written narrative.

Consensus Conference.  The next action of the Coping with Aging & Cancer project was to hold a consensus conference of key stakeholders including OACs, caregivers of OAC patients, researchers, psychologists, oncologists, geriatricians, and social.  The Aging & Cancer Conference was held on October 19, 2016 at Weill Cornell Medicine and was a huge success!  Thirty-five people attended the conference and discussed barriers and facilitators to OAC patients’ access to mental health care and strategies for improving the psychological care of OAC patients. 

The conference began with an overview of the written narrative on current research in this area (click here for the presentation slides).  Conference attendees then worked in small and large groups to identify barriers to, facilitators of, and strategies for improving OAC patients’ access to mental health care.  Conference participants generated over 200 ideas across these topics!  Further, attendees developed new relationships with each other and had engaging and innovative conversations about strategies for improving the mental health care of OAC patients. 

Roundtable Meeting.  The volume of ideas generated at the conference required an additional meeting of the study team and a small group of conference attendees.  On December 7, 2016, 11 conference attendees attended a roundtable meeting designed to organize and finalize the ideas generated at the conference.  This meeting was a focused and thoughtful meeting of diverse perspectives

Next steps.  Work on these ideas continues!  Currently, we are finalizing the list of ideas generated at the conference and informed by the roundtable.  We will circulate this list to all conference participants to obtain their feedback.  Following examination of their feedback, we will post the final recommendations.  Stay tuned!

A large THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the conference and roundtable for your ongoing time and effort toward this project!  Together, we are making steps toward improving the mental health care of older adults with cancer!


For any questions regarding the meeting, please contact the Coping with Aging & Cancer team at 212-746-3185 or at ket2017@med.cornell.edu. A staff person will follow-up with your inquiry as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant or if you would like to talk to someone other than the researchers you can contact:

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

1300 York Avenue, Box 89

New York, NY 10065

Telephone: (646) 962-8200, Option 7

The project staff office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m EST.


Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medicine New York, NY