|Jeanne S. Mandelblatt, Jack Hadley, Jon F. Kerner, et al.|
|Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania|
| Last Modified: November 1, 2001
Reviewers: Li Liu, MD
Précis: Very elderly women in US were often not offered full range of breast cancer treatments.
IntroductionThe choices of treatment for breast cancer are influenced by many factors, some of which have a sound scientific basis, others of which are based on highly personal opinions of physicians and on the type of hospital in which medical practice is conducted. The rising prevalence of coexisting diseases with age and certain physiologic changes in the elderly, which may reduce the capacity to tolerate complications of the therapy, are possible reasons for physicians to treat elderly breast cancer patients differently from younger patients. This study examined the effect of age on choice of first-line treatment in elderly breast cancer patients.
MethodA total of 718 women, 67 years of age or older, who were newly diagnosed with localized breast cancer were included.
DiscussionIn this study, among elderly women with early-stage breast cancer, age had a strong influence on treatment patterns, and many very elderly women were vulnerable to receiving less treatment than currently recommended in expert consensus guidelines. These results underscore the importance of incorporating patients' preferences in treatment decisions. Assessment of quality health care should take into account the interactions between the physician and patient in deciding which treatment to pursue.