Surgery for early breast cancer in the extremely elderly leads to improved outcomes – An Asian population study

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Aim The optimal treatment of breast cancer for extremely elderly patients (aged ≥ 80 years) is debatable. With an aging population, management of this group of patients will be increasingly common. This study aims to compare the survival outcomes of extremely elderly patients against younger ones, following different treatment modalities within each stage. The differences in treatment patterns across different stages have also been examined. Methods Female Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents diagnosed with breast cancer from 2003 to 2014 were identified from the Singapore Cancer Registry. Patients were divided into 2 age groups, below 80, and 80 and above years old, and categorized into 3 main treatment groups, namely surgery, non-surgical treatment, and no treatment. Analysis was made on their survival outcomes. Results 19,314 patients were diagnosed with breast cancer during the 12-year study period. 1482 patients were excluded due to unknown stage. 673 patients were aged 80 years and above, while 17,159 patients were aged below 80. Elderly patients presented with later stages of disease, and were less likely to have surgery. In Stage I and II, the difference in 5-year breast cancer specific outcome following surgery, was small between the 2 age groups. Among the elderly group, surgery resulted in improved survival. Those who did not have surgery performed better with endocrine therapy than with no treatment. Conclusions Extremely elderly patients, especially those with Stages I and II breast cancer do not fare worse than younger patients, and should be offered surgery if they are fit.




Lee, C. M., Zheng, H., Tan, V. K. M., Tan, T. J. Y., Kanesvaran, R., Wong, F. Y., … Tan, B. K. T. (2017). Surgery for early breast cancer in the extremely elderly leads to improved outcomes – An Asian population study. Breast, 36, 44–48.

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