Treating Breast Cancer in Elderly Women

Dr. Dan Avradopoulos
Dr. Dan Avradopoulos

A physician at Heywood Hospital in Gardner, Massachusetts, Dr. Konstantino Avradopoulos treats patients with various chronic wounds. Formerly the director of a breast cancer clinic, Dr. Konstantino Avradopoulos gave a presentation to the Society of Surgical Oncology on the treatment effects on elderly patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, and its risk increases with age. Half of all women with breast cancer are over 60, and up to one-fifth are over 70.

The treatment of women over 80 with breast cancer is a complex issue. Morbidity rates are significant because of a lack of evidence-based treatment methodologies for this age group.

Most clinical trials include few octogenarians, and medical practitioners take a conservative approach to their treatment because of the effects of factors such as therapy-related toxicities. These factors must be addressed to improve the survival rates among women in this age group.

In developing treatment plans, medical practitioners should take into account patients’ functional status, comorbidities (conditions that exist simultaneously with the breast cancer), mental state, social support, and the cancer itself.