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UT MD Anderson study finds advances in breast cancer don't extend to older women
Date:11/7/2011

HOUSTON - The survival rates for older women with breast cancer lag behind younger women diagnosed with the disease, indicating that the elder population may be missing out on improvements in treatment and detection, according to new research from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is one of the first to identify whether the improvements made in breast cancer outcomes over the past three decades have been experienced by women of all ages, or only by certain age subsets.

Describing groups not experiencing proportionate improvements is critically important to identify sub-populations in need of targeted research, according to Benjamin Smith, M.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Radiation Oncology.

"What surprised me was just how different the outcomes of older women are compared to those of other age groups," said Smith, the study's lead author. "In almost all other subsets, we found improvements that cluster in a similar direction, but older women are on a very different slope as far as the minimal improvement they've experienced."

Smith and his colleagues examined change over time for two outcomes: the rate of breast cancer death in the general population and the risk of breast cancer death in newly diagnosed patients and compared this change over time across age spectrums.

Data from the National Vital Statistics Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1980-2007 categorized the rate of breast cancer death into four age groups: 20-49; 50-64; 65-74 and 75 and older. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry, complied by the National Cancer Institute, was used to analyze the risk of breast cancer death from a cohort of 219,024 women ages 20 and older diagnosed from 1980-1997.

Results Show Discrepancy

Breast cancer death rates were stabl
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Contact: William Fitzgerald
wbfitzgerald@mdanderson.org
713-792-9518
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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