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Radiation beneficial for older breast cancer patients
Date:4/11/2008

, 70 years old and older, with Stage I or II invasive carcinoma of the breast received breast-conservation therapy and their outcomes were compared by age groups and comorbidities. Most of the patients studied had mild comorbidities.

The researchers found that the number of deaths from breast cancer among the patients studied was similar to the number seen among all age groups of patients without additional medical problems. The researchers also found that the majority of elderly women with early-stage breast cancers and mild comorbidities actually benefited from the use of radiation and had minimal side effects.

The overall survival rates for the patients in the five- and 10-year follow-up periods were 80 percent and 50 percent, respectively; however, more deaths during the 10-year period were caused by intercurrent diseases than breast cancer.

Doctors need to understand that comorbidities should be the determining factor in deciding an older patients course of treatment, not age, said Eleanor Harris, M.D., clinical director of radiation oncology at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. There is a sense in the field that elderly women need less treatment than younger women, but we should not be under treating women simply because they have passed the age of 70.


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Contact: Nicole Napoli
nicolen@astro.org
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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