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Minerva Chirurgica 2005 June;60(3):179-84


language: Italian

Surgical treatment of breast cancer in the elderly

Bacillari P., Leuzzi R., Meli L., Tomei B., Ruperto M., Zerilli M., Cicconetti F., Iascone C.


Aim. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prognosis and survival of patients aged over 70 years and affected by breast cancer.
Methods. From January 1994 through Decem-ber 2000, 56 patients with breast cancer aged 70 years or older were submitted to surgical treatment. Associated diseases were present in 24 patients, while no patient showed distant metastases at the time of hospital admission. All patients underwent breast preserving surgery regardless the tumour size and in 31 subjects out of 56, the surgical procedure was performed under local anesthesia. An axillary lymphectomy was associated in 46 patients. According to the TNM staging system, tumours were classified as follows: 10 T1Nx, 18 T1N0, 9 T1N1, 7 T2N0, 10 T2N1 and 2 T3N1.
Results. There was no postoperative mortality and in 6 cases an axillary seroma was observed. Radiotherapy and tamoxifen treatment followed surgery in all cases. The median follow-up was 44 months. Nineteen patients (34%) died during the follow-up: 6 patients of cancer progression with a specific cancer-death of 10.7% while 13 patients (23.2%) died because of concurrent diseases. A local relapse (1.8%) was observed in a single patient 2 years after the primary surgical treatment and, at 3 years, 37 patients (66%) are alive and disease-free. Long-term survival was significantly related to the stage of disease at the time of surgery, while our data do not allow any conclusion concerning the impact of axillary dissection on long-term outcome.
Conclusion. In conclusion, results for breast cancer therapy are comparable in old and young patients and therefore strategies and treatment protocols should be similar, breast preserving surgery followed by radiotherapy and ormonal treatment being ''the gold standard'.

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