Breast cancer in the elderly. Current patterns of care

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1986 Sep;34(9):637-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1986.tb04904.x.


To evaluate age-related differences in the current patterns of presentation and clinical management of breast cancer patients, the authors reviewed 1795 patients referred to a university hospital for their initial treatment. No age-related differences were found with respect to laterality and anatomic site. Age-related differences were seen with respect to histology, with mucinous (colloid) carcinoma being relatively more common with increasing age and medullary and inflammatory carcinoma being more common among young patients. Patients over age 55 presented with more advanced extent of disease, but the proportion did not further increase above age 65. Patients age 75 and older were nearly twice as likely to have surgery as their sole treatment as patients under age 45. The difference in treatment was specifically associated with the differential use of adjuvant chemotherapy between age groups. Sixty percent of patients under 45 with regional node involvement received adjuvant chemotherapy compared with only 27% of those 65 and older. Despite their similar characteristics in regard to laterality, anatomic site, and histology, elderly patients are less frequently given adjuvant chemotherapy in stage II breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Quality of Health Care*


  • Antineoplastic Agents