Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lack Of Care For Older Breast Cancer Patients

30.03.2007
Older women with breast cancer get a lower level of care than younger women, researchers at The University of Manchester have found.

Compared to younger women, older women with breast cancer are less likely to be diagnosed via needle biopsy and triple assessment, less likely to undergo surgery and less likely to receive radiotherapy, the researchers report in this week’s British Journal of Cancer.

Such management of older women is likely to lead to higher rates of local recurrence of the disease and higher than necessary mortality.

Dr Katrina Lavelle, who led the study at the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, explains: “We have found that older women from aged 70 and over are less likely to receive the same breast cancer care as younger women and that this is related to their age rather than differences in the biology of their tumour.”

The highest incidence of breast cancer in England occurs in women aged 70 years and older. Older women also experience the worst survival – women aged 70-79 have a 76% five-year relative survival compared to 80% for all ages, and for women aged 80 plus this drops considerably to 61%, beyond what might be expected owing to an increase in age.

The team carried out a retrospective cohort study involving case note review based on the North Western Cancer Registry database of women aged 65 and over, resident in Greater Manchester with invasive breast cancer registered over a one year period. The results of the study, funded by an NHS R&D Training Fellowship, may be generalized nationally as variation in survival between regions is lower for breast cancer compared to other cancers.

The they found that, compared to women aged 65-69 years, women aged 80 plus with operable breast cancer have increased odds of not receiving triple assessment, not receiving primary surgery, not undergoing axillary node surgery and not undergoing steroid receptor tests (which indicate suitability for hormone therapy). Compared with her 65-69-year-old counterpart, the odds of a woman aged 80 or older not receiving triple assessment for operable breast cancer are five-and-a-half times higher, and the odds of her not receiving surgery are more than 40 times higher. Even women as young as 70-74 have over 7 times the odds of not receiving radiotherapy following breast conservation surgery compared to women aged 65-69 years.

In addition, the team discovered that the overall percentage of women in all the age groups not receiving steroid receptor tests was high at 41%, which resulted in treatment decisions being taken without this fundamental information. Three quarters of the patients who did not receive steroid receptor tests were given the hormone therapy, tamoxifen: that is, prescribed a treatment without evidence that it would work.

In a survey of UK breast cancer surgeons in 2004, 75% reported that they would treat older breast cancer patients in a similar way to younger patients and 98% responded that the cut off point for breast cancer surgery was not age related.

Dr Lavelle says: “Clearly there is a difference in clinicians’ perceptions of how older breast cancer patients should be treated and their actual practice.

“Standard management of breast cancer was infrequent in older women in Greater Manchester. The lack of diagnostic and steroid receptor testing resulted in older cancer patients having no effective treatment with 41% not undergoing a steroid receptor test, 32% of whom received tamoxifen as their sole form of treatment.

“Mortality of elderly breast cancer patients is unlikely to improve where this pattern of management persists.”

Research lead for the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, Professor Chris Todd, commented: "It would be wrong to conclude that ageism is to be found in the NHS on the basis of these results alone, as this study has not been able to take the preferences of older women themselves into account. This is something we intend to investigate in the next phase of our research."

Jon Keighren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>