Background: The geriatric population in Malaysia is predicted to increase from 4% of the total populationin 1998 to 9.8% by 2020, in parallel with developments in the socioeconomy. Cancer is expected to be a majormedical issue among this population. However, the decision for treatment in Malaysia is always decided by thecaregivers instead of the elderly patients themselves.
Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the willingnessto accept chemotherapy among elderly Malaysians. Materials and
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, patientsaged 60 and above from various clinics/wards were recruited. Those giving consent were interviewed using aquestionnaire.
Results: A total of 75 patients were recruited, 35 patients (47%) with a history of cancer. Themedian age was 73 years old. There were 29 Chinese (38.7%), 22 Indian (29.3%), 20 Malay (26.7%) and four otherethnicity patients. Some 83% and 73% of patients willing to accept strong and mild chemotherapy, respectively.Patients with cancer were more willing to accept strong and mild chemotherapy compared to the non-cancergroup (88.6% vs 62.5%, P=0.005, 94% vs 80%, P=0.068). On sub-analysis, 71.4% and 42.9% of Chinese patientswithout a history of cancer were not willing to receive strong and mild chemotherapy, respectively.
Conclusions:The majority of elderly patients in UMMC were willing to receive chemotherapy if they had cancer. Experiencewith previous treatment had positive influence on the willingness to undergo chemotherapy.