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Breast. 2011 Aug;20(4):293-6. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2011.03.003. Epub 2011 May 6.

How not to neglect the care of elderly breast cancer patients?

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  • 1University Hospitals of Leicester, NHS Trust, Leicester, United Kingdom.


Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer mortality in women. Its incidence increases with increasing age; those over 70 years constitute more than one-third of the current breast cancer population. Despite significant advances in the field of breast cancer treatment, elderly patients have seen neither a meaningful improvement in treatment strategies, nor a decline in breast cancer-specific mortality. Studies have shown that a high percentage of elderly breast cancer patients do not receive standard treatment because of their age, co-morbidities, and sometimes due to their personal choice. However, in routine clinical practice there is no comprehensive assessment in place, on which to base treatment decisions, to ensure that elderly patients receive clinically appropriate treatment. We have reviewed the current literature and discuss differences in treatment of breast cancer between young and older patients. We also discuss different ways to optimise the treatment of breast cancer in elderly patients and the need for further research in this area.

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