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Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 1997;18(5):353-60.

The role of age in the course of breast cancer.

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Department of Gynecology, University Hospital Essen, Germany.


BACKGROUND AND QUESTION: A retrospective study was performed. To check the hypothesis whether there is an inverse connection between age and prognosis.


We investigated a total group of 1000 cases with breast cancer primarily and consecutively treated between 1968 and 1986. After grouping the patients by tumor stage and median age various life table analyses were performed to calculate and compare the overall survival. Entry date was the date at diagnosis of a first breast cancer or date at first diagnosis of distant metastasis.


Young patients with a tumor size T1 and T2 had a significantly better prognosis than older patients with the same tumor stage. Influence of age became significantly weaker in patients with a T3 and T4 tumor. At least in the patients with a primarily M1 stage hardy any more dependence of age could be demonstrated. Similar results were obtained for the 198 patients which presented a distant recurrence.


Better general life expectancy of young patients is the cause of substantially better overall survival in curable stages. Advanced breast cancer is a strongly life-threatening factor. The fatal influence of large tumor mass is independent of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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