Improved Breast CA Outcomes Affect Older Women Less

Increasing disparity in breast cancer outcomes by age; outcomes for younger women better

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The impact of improvements in breast cancer outcomes has been less for women age 75 years or older than for women younger than 75, according to a study published online Nov. 7 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Benjamin D. Smith, M.D., from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues examined the rate of breast cancer death in the general population and the risk of breast cancer death in newly diagnosed patients, and compared the change in outcomes for older versus younger women over time. Data were collected from National Vital Statistics Reports and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results nine-registry cohort from 1980 to 1997.

The investigators identified a 2.5 percent per year decrease in the rate of breast cancer death in the general population for women aged 20 to 49 years, relative to 1990. The decrease was 2.1, 2.0, and 1.1 percent per year for women aged 50 to 64, 65 to 74 years, and ≥75 years, respectively. There was a decrease in the adjusted risk of breast cancer death in newly diagnosed patients of 3.6 percent per year for women aged less than 75 years versus 1.3 percent per year for women aged ≥75 years, from 1980 to 1997. The 10-year absolute risk of breast cancer death decreased by 15.3 percent for women aged 50 to 64 years, whereas the decrease was only 7.5 percent for women aged ≥75 years.

"Breast cancer outcomes have preferentially improved in women [aged] less than 75 years. Focused research is needed to improve outcomes in older women," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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