A [Harris Interactive survey of oncologists](http://www.agingresearch.org/colon_cancer.cfm) found that colon cancer patients over 65 experience better outcomes when a caregiver is involved in their treatment. The physicians often depended on the caregiver in communicating with the patient. They saw the primary roles of the caregiver as providing emotional support, participating in doctor visits, helping with decisions about managing the disease, and transporting the patient to medical care.
Among the [key survey findings](http://www.agingresearch.org/brochures/coloncancer/KeySurveyFindings.pdf) were:
+ 6 out of 10 (62.9%) of colon cancer patients are 65 or older.
+ Only about 64% of patients over 65 have an involved caregiver.
+ 77% of oncologists agreed that patients had better outcomes when there was an involved caregiver due to increased communications.
+ 64% of interviewed oncologists strongly or somewhat agreed that older patients had a more difficult time managing their disease than younger ones.
+ 41% strongly or somewhat agreed that patients over 65 do not ask the most relevant questions about their disease and how to manage it.
+ 81% said that they depended on caregivers a great deal or somewhat to act as an intermediary between themselves and their patient.
+ 90% felt that the caregiver has a moderate to major impact on the decisions made in managing treatment
+ 92% of the time the caregiver is a spouse or partner.
One hundred percent of the interviewed oncologists perceived the caregiver as part of the team involved in managing the care of elderly patients. Almost all (97%) saw caregivers as allies.
Although 65% surveyed disagreed strongly or somewhat that patients over 65 can handle aggressive chemotherapy, 70% said that they take the patient’s age into consideration when recommending treatment.
The [Alliance for Aging Research](http://www.agingresearch.org/index.cfm) commissioned the online survey, conducted by [Harris Interactive](http://www.harrisinteractive.com/) from September 7-20, 2005. 104 oncologists, sampled and weighted to represent the oncologist population in the United States,were interviewed.
Based on the study, the Alliance for Aging Research has a [Tip Sheet](http://www.agingresearch.org/brochures/coloncancer/tipsheet.pdf) for patients and caregivers.
Additional information is available in a [news release](http://www.agingresearch.org/press/111405.html) from the Alliance for Aging Research.