Management of operable primary breast cancer in older women

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A considerable number of breast cancer diagnoses are made in older women. Differing physiological needs of older patients and biology of tumors compared with younger patients may alter treatment options between surgery and nonsurgical primary approaches. Adjuvant therapies may benefit these patients; however, concerns about toxicity and physical demands of treatment may affect patient choice regarding treatment. Furthermore, quality of life may be more important to the older individual than curative treatment alone. Growing evidence is emerging for employing Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment to determine other factors that may contribute to treatment decision-making in the older population. The way geriatric oncology is delivered varies, bringing the importance of the multidisciplinary team to the forefront of care delivery in this age group. Future research in this area should include combined consideration of tumor biology and geriatric needs.

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