Breast Cancer developed After Age 55

Usually Less Aggressive, Survival Good

Women who develop breast cancer after age 55 tend to have a less aggressive type of tumor and most older patients live about as long as the women without breast cancer in their age group, a new study shows.

The study, appearing Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that the characteristics of breast tumors in women past age 55 are more favorable for treatment and control than are the breast cancer tumor types found in younger women.

Also, the study found that the eight-year survival rate for breast cancer patients past the age of 70 who have small tumors and no lymph node spread, was almost identical with the survival rate for age-matched women who did not have breast cancer.

The research was prompted by the increasing rate of breast cancer among elderly women, said the authors. The conclusions are based on an analysis of medical records of 50,828 breast cancer patients in San Antonio and 256,287 in a national cancer registry. Survival rate of the patients was compared with a similar number of age-matched women from the general population.

Ann's NOTE: It is important to remember when reading survival data, that those of us who actively work on our health may have better survival. These studies are usually based on use of conventional therapies only.

This study is good news for women diagnosed after age 55.


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