Cancer and older people

Current projects

Cancer Dementia and Information needs (Can-Do)

As part of an award by Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA), supported by Age UK, CPCR are exploring the information needs and decision-making preferences of cancer patients who have a diagnosis of dementia, their carers and cancer clinicians. 

Data analysis is currently ongoing and the findings will inform the development of an information and decision making guide, which will be tested in future research within the CPCR group.

Completed projects

Delivering dignity of care for older people during chemotherapy

This was a three year study completed in September 2016 and funded by The Burdett Trust for Nursing which aimed to explore the experiences of patients aged 65+ and their informal caregivers during chemotherapy.

Key findings

  • Patients reported feeling lucky to receive treatment and were stoical and reluctant to report problems to health professionals, often minimising the impact chemotherapy had on their lives.
  • Many patients felt overwhelmed by the amount of written information and struggled to assimilate complex information, including statistics.
  • Maintaining independence was adversely affected during chemotherapy
  • Nutrition was a significant problem, with many patients at risk of malnutrition.


A clear need for enhanced patient centred care was identified for older people receiving chemotherapy. The results from this study will form the foundation of further research involving a large interventional study and collaboration with a multidisciplinary team.


McWilliams, L., Farrell, C., Grande, G., Keady, J., Swarbrick, C., & Yorke, J. A systematic review of the prevalence of comorbid cancer and dementia and its implications for cancer-related care. Aging and Mental Health, July 2017. Accessible here

Last updated: May 2023