Fred Cubbison has gret affection for his 1965 mustang. Even though it's older , it's in great shape and still has a lot of miles left on it.
When Fred was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, he was hoping doctors would look at him the same way, although he had concerns about getting chemo.
Fred Cubbison says "I was 70 years old at the time, and they said "Well, normally we don't do anybody over 65"
But Fred isn't just anybody over 65, he's still extremely active, he golfs, chops wood and manages a farm.
Unfortunately, when it comes to cancer treatments, many doctors often set age limits for more aggressive therapies.
Dr. Ashley Rosko says "We know that older patients benefit from chemotherapy. We also know that older adults are undertreated in cancer care."
So Dr. Ashley Rosko and her colleagues are changing that at Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, one of the first clinics in the country is now open, dedicated to treating patients based on their overall health and fitness level, not their age.
In one visit, patients can see up to six specialists to gauge everything from their physical to mental health to their nutrition.
Dr. Rosko says "What we're doing in the clinic is really to be able to preventatively put a plan in for patients and put this structure together so that patients can do well and minimize the toxicities of their chemotherapy plan."
Doctors say they also take into consideration things like a patient's social life and their support structure. Given the number of older Americans expected to get a cancer diagnosis in the next few decades, medical experts says we need guidelines that maximize treatment regardless of age.
Researchers are also studying a protein in the lab called p-16 that may show how healthy you've been throughout your life and help doctors determine your treatment.
For Fred, that was chemo and a stem cell transplant. Today, he simply takes a pill for maintenance, all of which may not have been an option anywhere else.
Fred Cubbison says " I went through this with flying colors. I was the student up there on that floor at that time because I really really did well."