Health Watch

Mar 31, 2011 11:16 AM

Early Breast Cancer Doesn't Shorten Life Expectancy In Older Women

Researchers say a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer in older women does not shorten life expectancy.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, women 67 and older diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or Stage I breast cancer enjoyed survival rates similar to that of older women without breast cancer. In contrast, diagnosis of more advanced breast cancer is linked with worse survival outcomes.

To explore the impact of a breast cancer diagnosis on the survival of older women, researchers conducted a study among more than 64,000 women who diagnosed with breast cancer at age 67 or older. researchers compared survival rates in these women and compared them with survival rates in a group of similarly aged women without breast cancer. In the analysis, the researchers accounted for the other health problems, prior mammography use, and sociodemographic variables.

The study showed:

- Women who were diagnosed with DCIS or Stage I breast cancer and received standard treatment had similar survival to women without breast cancer. The most common cause of death among women with DCIS or Stage I breast cancer was cardiovascular disease.

- Women with Stage II or higher breast cancer had shorter survival than women without breast cancer. Risk of death was 50 percent higher among women with Stage II breast cancer, three-times higher among women with Stage III breast cancer, and close to 10-times higher among women with Stage IV breast cancer. The survival differences between women with advanced breast cancer and women without breast cancer decreased with age.


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