Review Article| Volume 1, ISSUE 2, P103-108, October 2010

Optimising the care of primary breast cancer in older women—potential for a dedicated service

Published:August 13, 2010DOI:


      The management of elderly patients with breast cancer is complex. Currently, most of their treatment guidelines have been adapted from studies conducted in younger patients. However, studies have shown that breast cancer in the elderly have distinctive biological characteristics from the young. Also, older patients have different needs from younger patients—including increased frailty, decreased functional status, comorbidities, polypharmacy, cognition, psychosocial support and nutrition. These should be assessed appropriately to take into account their daily function and quality of life. A comprehensive geriatric assessment could help identify pre-treatment risk factors and could guide clinical decision making, improving morbidity and prognosis. We describe a potential set up for a dedicated multidisciplinary-led elderly breast cancer clinic to provide the assessment, review and management of this distinctive set of patients.


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      Miss Siau-Wei Tang, BMedSci, BMBS, MRCS(Eng) is an Academic Clinical Fellow at the Division of Surgery, University of Nottingham. She qualified at the University of Nottingham and is currently undergoing surgical training at the East Midlands Healthcare Workforce Deanery. She is currently carrying out clinical research in the area of breast surgery, particularly in the area of elderly women with breast cancer.