BREAST CANCER IN OLDER WOMEN
ANCHOR LEAD: BREAST CANCER IN OLDER WOMENAS PEOPLE ARE LIVING LONGER, HOW TO TREAT CANCERS IN OLDER FOLKS IS IMPORTANT, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Older women with breast cancer should probably be treated with the same chemotherapy agents as younger women, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded. Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says the study raises the very important issue of whether and how treatment of cancers in older folks is different than in their younger counterparts.
PARK: What we’re learning as we go along is that as the population ages and remains very healthy that they’re getting cancers and let’s say at the age of 70 or 80 they’re going to be a number of patients who will live another 10, 15, 20 years, and based upon what we know about younger women with breast cancers, it would probably make sense to at least explore the possibility that giving them additional therapies like chemotherapy will improve their overall survival. :25
Park says older women should ask about standards of care for younger women and perhaps elect to be treated with an eye toward long term survival. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.