Breast cancer in older patients.


Journal Article (Review)

Breast cancer is a common problem and a major health concern in our growing geriatric population. Older breast cancer patients are at risk for less than standard management, the appropriateness of which is difficult to discern. Breast tumors tend to have less aggressive characteristics. In addition, planning therapy is not always straightforward because older patients may present with comorbid illnesses and frailty that limit therapeutic choices. Standard management approaches should always be considered first. Here, we outline some data supporting standard treatment for breast cancer in older women. We also describe other options that can be considered in circumstances when the standard treatment is not possible. For instance, primary treatment with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor is justifiable in a patient who is unfit for surgery and axillary dissection may be unnecessary in a patient who is obviously unfit for adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant therapies should be considered, weighing risks and benefits for each patient, though the threshold for using chemotherapy may be higher. The goals in treating metastatic breast cancer in an older patient are not different than for younger patients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kimmick, G; Muss, HB

Published Date

  • April 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 234 - 248

PubMed ID

  • 15112153

Pubmed Central ID

  • 15112153

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0093-7754

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2003.12.033


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States