Breast Cancer Care in the Elderly Patient

Grace Martin, Elizabeth Shaughnessy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: As women continue to live longer, physicians adapt to treating well-described diseases such as breast cancer. Here we provide a comprehensive evidence-based review of the treatment of breast cancer in the elderly patient. Recent Findings: Previous studies conducted to determine optimal treatment for breast cancer have primarily included younger, healthier women. Despite favorable tumor biology, older women are less likely to receive standard of care treatments relative to breast reconstruction, postoperative radiation, and adjuvant chemotherapy. Frailty is cited as a reason for not offering or receiving therapies. There are no strict definitions of frailty for this specific population, but there are general guidelines for older cancer patients, with a lower specificity than desired. Summary: Treatment recommendations for older women vary little from those for younger women. However, the paucity of data for the older age group within trials raises the question of the basis of evidence. Risks of treatment need to be evaluated relative to life expectancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Geriatrics Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Adjuvant treatment
  • Breast cancer
  • Elderly
  • Frailty
  • Older
  • Surgical treatment


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