Breast cancer in the elderly: Detection and treatment modalities in 341 women

L. Repetto, L. Miglietta, M. Costantini, P. Queirolo, D. Cannata, M. Pace, G. Gardin, T. Guido, D. Amoroso, E. Campora, F. Boccardo, R. Rosso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elderly cancer patients are generally excluded from entry to clinical trials and often managed inadequately or based on individual experience. We have retrospectively determined tumor detection modality, diagnostic and staging work-up, delay in referral and therapeutic approaches in 341 women with breast cancer aged over 70 years. Fifty-eight per cent of patients were in the 70-75 group of age. Our data suggest that tumor is detected during medical visit or hospitalization for reasons other than breast cancer in 63.1% elderly women with 74.1% of tumors diagnosed on stage I+II disease; the interval between patient's awareness of a breast nodule and first diagnostic and/or therapeutic intervention was less than 3 months in 51.4% and between 3 and 6 months in 20.7% of patients. Most of our patients received adequate treatment although in 18.6%, 26.8% and 18.2% of stage II, III and IV respectively systemic treatment was not administered after surgery. A large proportion (22.3%) of patients received Halsted mastectomy and only 11.1% conservative surgery. We suggest breast examination should be encouraged, screening program should be extended after the age of 70 years and systemic treatment should be evaluated in elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1399-1403
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • breast cancer
  • elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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