Purpose/Objectives: To analyze the development of gero-oncology research through a critical review of nursing and other relevant research as well as the present state of practice.
Data Sources: Journal articles, book chapters, and personal experience.
Data Synthesis: Cancer in older adults is viewed through two investigative perspectives. The assumptions, questions, theoretical frames, and research design that follow from these investigative perspectives do not adequately meet the need to examine the interplay of responses to aging, cancer, and nursing practice. The mismatch of need, knowledge, and resources marks older adults with cancer as a special population in need of far more sophisticated research. With the synthesis of a new perspective, gero-oncology nursing research becomes age focused, more precisely shaping theoretical, methodologic, and analytic approaches.
Conclusions: Uniform attachment of chronologic age or other simple age-related variables to investigations, which is the primary consideration of age-related research, is irrelevant for older adults who are diagnosed with, treated for, live with, survive, and die from cancer. Shaping the next phase of gero-oncology research with a focus on age precisely integrates theoretical, methodologic, and analytic approaches through language specific to older adults and cancer.
Implications for Nursing: Shifting perspectives in gero-oncology nursing research will better inform future practice.