Current Geriatrics Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 139–148 | Cite as

Breast Cancer Care in the Elderly Patient

  • Grace Martin
  • Elizabeth ShaughnessyEmail author
Surgical Care for the Geriatric Patient (F Luchette and R Gonzalez, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Surgical Care for the Geriatric Patient


Purpose of Review

As women continue to live longer, physicians adapt to treating well-described diseases such as breast cancer. Here we provide a comprehensive evidence-based review of the treatment of breast cancer in the elderly patient.

Recent Findings

Previous studies conducted to determine optimal treatment for breast cancer have primarily included younger, healthier women. Despite favorable tumor biology, older women are less likely to receive standard of care treatments relative to breast reconstruction, postoperative radiation, and adjuvant chemotherapy. Frailty is cited as a reason for not offering or receiving therapies. There are no strict definitions of frailty for this specific population, but there are general guidelines for older cancer patients, with a lower specificity than desired.


Treatment recommendations for older women vary little from those for younger women. However, the paucity of data for the older age group within trials raises the question of the basis of evidence. Risks of treatment need to be evaluated relative to life expectancy.


Breast cancer Frailty Elderly Older Surgical treatment Adjuvant treatment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Elizabeth Shaughnessy and Grace Martin declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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