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Taussig Oncology Program for Seniors (TOPS)

Help for the Unique Needs of Seniors with Cancer

If you are 75 or over and have been diagnosed with cancer, you may benefit from a specialized assessment at the Taussig Cancer Institute's Geriatric Oncology Clinic. The assessment is designed to identify and manage problems related to a cancer diagnosis and treatment that may otherwise get overlooked. The assessment's goal is to improve your quality of life, offer reassurance to you and your family, and empower you to make informed health care decisions.

When an assessment may help

A geriatric oncology assessment may help if you have cancer, are experiencing severe side effects - confusion, severe weight loss, breathing or swallowing difficulties, etc. - from standard cancer treatment and are experiencing two or more of the following:

  • Multiple health problems
  • Problems resulting from multiple medications
  • Behavioral change, including depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty performing daily activities
  • Physical weakness, frailty
  • Difficulty living independently, functional decline
  • Difficulty with walking or balance
  • At risk for nursing home placement
  • Nutritional concerns, including weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Osteoporosis or osteoarthritis

What to expect during an assessment

During an evaluation at the Taussig Oncology Program for Seniors, you will have a geriatric assessment which will help assess your ability to tolerate treatment for your cancer, a consult with an oncologist who specializes in the treatment of your cancer, an evaluation with a social worker to determine whether there are geriatric-specific resources available, and a nutritionist. This evaluation will take about 2.5 hours, but will enable us to determine the best therapy and what supportive care services may be necessary for the best outcomes. You may be scheduled to see a palliative medicine specialist, a pharmacist, or a physical therapist to further improve your care.

In addition, the physician will provide you with written materials and information about your health issues and concerns and provide information on resources, community and private agencies, and support groups associated with your cancer diagnosis. If you wish, the physician will also provide a full report to your primary care provider.


To schedule an appointment, or for more information, call: 216.444.7923 or 866.223.8100.

Abdo Haddad, MD

Abdo Haddad, MD attended medical school at Tishreen University Faculty of Medicine in Lattakia, Syria. He then completed a Residency in Internal Medicine and three Fellowships - two of which were at the Cleveland Clinic in Geriatric Medicine, Palliative Medicine, and Hematology and Oncology.

Dr. Haddad's specialty interests include cancer in the elderly, Breast Cancer, and Lung Cancer.

Armida Parala-Metz, MD

Armida Parala-Metz, MD went to the University of the East, in Manila, Philippines for her medical degree. Afterwards, she completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY and two Fellowships - one of them at the Cleveland Clinic in Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Dr. Parala-Metz's specialty interests include Cancer Pain, Geriatric Palliative Medicine Pain and Symptom Management, Geriatric Syndromes, and Palliative Medicine.

Dale Shepard, MD, Ph.D.

Dale Shepard, MD received his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health in Columbus, OH. He then went on to complete his Residency training in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Shepards specialty interests include Genitourinary Oncology, Geriatric Oncology, and Experimental Therapeutics.

Cleveland Clinic's Geriatric Medicine program specializes in diagnosing and treating elderly patients with complex medical conditions and social problems. Our goal is to create comprehensive geriatric care plans designed to preserve independence and improve quality of life for geriatric patients.

Cancer Answers & Appointments

Speak with a cancer nurse specialist for appointment assistance and for answers to your questions about cancer locally at 216.444.7923 or toll-free 1.866.223.8100.

Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET).


Resources for medical professionals

  • Outpatient appointment referrals: 216.444.7923 or 866.223.8100
  • Inpatient hospital transfers: 800.553.5056
  • Referring Physician Concierge: 216.444.6196 or 216.312.4910.

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