A genetic component is well established in the etiology of breast cancer. It is not well known, however, whether genetic traits also influence prognostic features of the malignant phenotype.
We carried out a population-based cohort study in Sweden based on the nationwide Multi-Generation Register. Among all women with breast cancer diagnosed from 1961 to 2001, 2,787 mother-daughter pairs and 831 sister pairs with breast cancer were identified; we achieved complete follow-up and classified 5-year breast cancer-specific prognosis among proband (mother or oldest sister) into tertiles as poor, intermediary, or good. We used Kaplan-Meier estimates of survival proportions and Cox models to calculate relative risks of dying from breast cancer within 5 years depending on the proband's outcome.
The 5-year survival proportion among daughters whose mothers died within 5 years was 87% compared to 91% if the mother was alive (p = 0.03). Among sisters, the corresponding proportions were 70% and 88%, respectively (p = 0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, daughters and sisters of a proband with poor prognosis had a 60% higher 5-year breast cancer mortality compared to those of a proband with good prognosis (hazard ratio [HR], 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 2.2; p for trend 0.002). This association was slightly stronger among sisters (HR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.0 to 3.4) than among daughters (HR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.3).
Breast cancer prognosis of a woman predicts the survival in her first-degree relatives with breast cancer. Our novel findings suggest that breast cancer prognosis might be inherited.
Comparisons across Europe suggest that survival from breast cancer is less good in the United Kingdom than in many countries. The care given in some UK breast cancer units is exemplary. However, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that a substantial number of women who present with breast cancer receive suboptimal care. Cancer registry-based studies have clearly demonstrated variations between surgeons and between hospitals in the management of early breast cancer. Although variations in surgical practice per se may have little impact on survival, there is evidence that differences in the use of systemic adjuvant therapy influence outcome. Five-year survival seems to be greater in women treated by surgeons seeing more than 30-50 new cases of breast cancer each year. This may be because such patients are more likely to be treated by a multidisciplinary team and to receive adjuvant therapy. Proposals that would increase the overall quality of breast cancer care and remove current inequalities must be carefully considered and should then be implemented.
Approximately 20–30% of women delay for 12 weeks or more from self-discovery of a breast symptom to presentation to a health care provider, and such delay intervals are associated with poorer survival. Understanding the factors that influence patient delay is important for the development of an effective, targeted health intervention programme to shorten patient delay. The aim of the study was to elicit knowledge and beliefs about breast cancer among a sample of the general female population, and examine age and socio-economic variations in responses. Participants were randomly selected through the Postal Address File, and data were collected through the Office of National Statistics. Geographically distributed throughout the UK, 996 women participated in a short structured interview to elicit their knowledge of breast cancer risk, breast cancer symptoms, and their perceptions of the management and outcomes associated with breast cancer. Women had limited knowledge of their relative risk of developing breast cancer, of associated risk factors and of the diversity of potential breast cancer-related symptoms. Older women were particularly poor at identifying symptoms of breast cancer, risk factors associated with breast cancer and their personal risk of developing the disease. Poorer knowledge of symptoms and risks among older women may help to explain the strong association between older age and delay in help-seeking. If these findings are confirmed they suggest that any intervention programme should target older women in particular, given that advancing age is a risk factor for both developing breast cancer and for subsequent delayed presentation.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 1373–1378. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600260 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
breast cancer ; symptoms; risk factors; age
A case-control study was conducted over a period of 11 months in an area containing one-third of the Swedish population. One thousand and one patients participated, constituting 94% of all women newly diagnosed as having breast cancer within the area. They were compared with 1,001 age-matched, non-hospitalized controls without breast cancer, selected by paired sampling from a population register. The risk of breast cancer was slightly, but significantly, related to parity, the standardized relative risk (SRR) being 1.35 for nulliparous women as compared to ever parous. In the different parity groups a risk significantly lower than that for nulliparous women was found only for women with more than 2 children (SRR = 0.59) but the trend with parity was highly significant (P less than 0.001). Age at first birth was not found to be an important risk factor for breast cancer. SRR was lower than for nulliparous women in all groups of women with their first birth before the age of 35 years, but the difference was significant (P less than 0.05) only for those with the first birth between 20 and 24 (SSR = 0.69) and 25 and 29 (SRR = 0.69) years of age. The trend with age at first birth (P less than 0.05) disappeared after stratification for parity, suggesting that it was a confounding factor.
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Although the incidence of breast cancer is 13% higher in white women, mortality in black women is 28% higher, due to histological and socioeconomic factors. Existing research regarding racial differences in compliance with breast cancer screening recommendations has found conflicting results. METHODS: Data on more than 4,500 women were taken from the 1992 National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative, population-based sample survey. Logistic regression was used to estimate the relative odds of knowledge of breast self-exam (BSE) and mammograms, and compliance with BSE, clinical breast exams (CBE), and mammograms. RESULTS: Black women were less likely than white women to be aware of and use breast cancer screening tests. However, among women who were aware of screening tests, compliance was higher among black women. Women with low educational attainment, low cancer knowledge, and no usual source of care were less likely to be CBE or mammogram compliant. Socioeconomic differences were larger for the two clinical tests than for BSE. CONCLUSIONS: Programs should inform women about cancer screening tests and remove barriers that hinder women from receiving clinical screening exams.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Based on the latest Iranian national cancer department report, the total number of women registered with breast cancer was 6976 cases during 2007. Five year survival is one of the indicators used for evaluation of the quality for care to different types of malignancies including breast cancer.
The aim of this study was to estimate survival rate of breast cancer in 6147 Iranian patients at a national level in different geographic regions.
Materials and Methods
6147 cases of breast cancer, which had telephone number and were diagnosed between 2001-2006, were called to obtain information about their life status. Survival estimates were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and the survival probability was calculated for the overall cohort and in different categories of gender, age and pathologic type of tumor. Hazard ratios (HR) according to demographic and risk variables were calculated by Cox's proportional hazard model.
The overall 5-year survival rate was 71.0%. The mean survival time was different between men and women, which was statistically significant. The number of men involved with breast cancer was 172 (2.8%) of all cases. The 5-year survival rate for patients in age group 41-50 years was significantly higher than other age groups (P = 0.001). The likelihood of death was higher in patients with 61 years old or more years rather than those below forty years old (HR = 1.31; 95% CI: 1.12-1.55).
The findings of this study might help Iranian health managers: 1) to be more conscious about geographical and regional determinants which will affect overall survival rate. 2) To carry preventive activities such as public education particularly in Iranian men. 3) To think about screening and early detection of breast cancer.
Breast Neoplasm; Survival Rate; Pathologic Type; Place of Residence; Iran
Multiple studies have shown that breast-conserving therapy (BCT) and mastectomy have equivalent outcomes for large populations of women with early-stage breast cancer. For individual treatment decisions, however, it is important to appreciate the heterogeneity of disease. Recent molecular studies have suggested that “breast cancer” includes biologically distinct classes of disease; although these molecular distinctions are important, other patient-related factors also affect outcome and influence prognosis. One of the most important of these patient factors is the age of the patient at diagnosis. Numerous studies have shown very different breast cancer outcomes based on patient age; younger women typically have more aggressive tumors that are more likely to recur both locoregionally and distantly, and older women more commonly have less aggressive disease. The overall disease-specific outcomes, techniques, and doses for adjuvant radiation therapy and toxicity of treatments should be discussed within the context of age because breast cancer is a very different disease based on this factor. Arguments can be made that more aggressive locoregional therapy is warranted in populations of young women with breast cancer and perhaps less aggressive therapy in the elderly.
Evidence suggests that compared to younger women, older women are less likely to receive standard management for breast cancer. Whether this disparity persists once differences in tumour characteristics have been adjusted for has not been investigated in the UK. A retrospective cohort study involving case note review was undertaken, based on the North Western Cancer Registry database of women aged ⩾65 years, resident in Greater Manchester with invasive breast cancer registered over a 1-year period (n=480). Adjusting for tumour characteristics associated with age by logistic regression analyses, older women were less likely to receive standard management than younger women for all indicators investigated. Compared to women aged 65–69 years, women aged ⩾80 years with operable (stage 1–3a) breast cancer have increased odds of not receiving triple assessment (OR=5.5, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.1–14.5), not receiving primary surgery (OR=43.0, 95% CI: 9.7–191.3), not undergoing axillary node surgery (OR=27.6, 95% CI: 5.6–135.9) and not undergoing tests for steroid receptors (OR=3.0, 95% CI: 1.7–5.5). Women aged 75–79 years have increased odds of not receiving radiotherapy following breast-conserving surgery compared to women aged 65–69 years (OR=11.0, 95% CI: 2.0–61.6). These results demonstrate that older women in the UK are less likely to receive standard management for breast cancer, compared to younger women and this disparity cannot be explained by differences in tumour characteristics.
breast cancer; elderly; treatment; diagnosis; tumour characteristics
To investigate quality of life, measured by the SF-36 scales, in a population-based sample of women who have survived cancer at any site and, specifically, breast cancer.
A representative cohort of women was observed over 24 years with regard to cancer prevalence, incidence, and quality of life.
A total of 1462 women aged 38–60 years at baseline.
Main outcome measures
Differences in quality of life between cancer survivors and cancer-free controls measured by the SF-36 Short Form Health Survey, with adjustment for age and additionally for social status, and history of major disease (diabetes, stroke, and myocardial infarction) at follow-up in 1992–93.
In women who had survived cancer, a lower feeling of general health was the only score found to be significantly associated with having had cancer. Similar analysis was conducted separately for breast cancer cases. Survivors of breast cancer reported lower vitality and when controlled for major disease also lower general health compared with women who had not had cancer. All other results were independent when adjusted for social status, and also for history of major disease.
Women who have survived cancer report lowered general health, and breast cancer cases lowered vitality, but considering the non-significant results for the other scores and summary scales it can be concluded that the well-being of women who have survived a cancer on the whole did not differ profoundly from that of other women.
Breast cancer; cancer; population study; quality of life; SF-36; women
Alcohol consumption has been comprehensively investigated as an etiologic risk factor for breast cancer but has received little attention in terms of its impact on prognosis after breast cancer, particularly for young women.
1286 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at or before 45 years of age from two population-based case-control studies in the Seattle-Puget Sound region were followed from their diagnosis of breast cancer (between January 1983 and December 1992) for survival through June 2002, during which time 364 women had died. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to assess the effect of pre-diagnostic alcohol consumption on the risk of dying.
After adjusting for age and diagnosis year, compared to non-drinkers, women who consumed alcohol in the 5 years prior to diagnosis had a decreased risk of death [>0 to <3 drinks per week: HR(hazard ratio) = 0.7 (95% CI: 0.6–0.95); 3 to <7 drinks per week: RR = 0.6 (95% CI: 0.4–0.8); ≥ 7 drinks per week: RR = 0.7 (95% CI: 0.5–0.9)]. This association was unchanged upon additional adjustment for potential confounders including most notably treatment, stage at diagnosis, and mammogram history.
These results suggest that women who consume alcohol prior to a diagnosis of breast cancer have improved survival which does not appear to be attributable to differences in stage, screening or treatment.
breast cancer; survival; alcohol consumption; wine; modifiable risk factor
The authors conduct a systematic review of the literature to identify interventions designed to enhance breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment among minority women. Most trials in this area have focused on breast cancer screening, while relatively few have addressed diagnostic testing or breast cancer treatment. Among patient-targeted screening interventions, those that are culturally tailored or addressed financial or logistical barriers are generally more effective than reminder-based interventions, especially among women with fewer financial resources and those without previous mammography. Chart-based reminders increase physician adherence to mammography guidelines but are less effective at increasing clinical breast examination. Several trials demonstrate that case management is an effective strategy for expediting diagnostic testing after screening abnormalities have been found. Additional support for these and other proven health care organization-based interventions appears justified and may be necessary to eliminate racial and ethnic breast cancer disparities.
breast cancer; screening; diagnosis; treatment; race; ethnicity; intervention
The debate continues as to whether younger women who present with breast cancer have a more aggressive form of disease and a worse prognosis. The objectives of this study were to determine the incidence of breast cancer in women under 40 years old and to analyse the clinicopathological characteristics and outcome compared to an older patient cohort.
Data was acquired from a review of charts and the prospectively reviewed GUH Department of Surgery database. Included in the study were 276 women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of forty and 2869 women over forty. For survival analysis each women less than 40 was matched with two women over forty for both disease stage and grade.
The proportion of women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of forty in our cohort was 8.8%. In comparison to their older counterparts, those under forty had a higher tumour grade (p = 0.044) and stage (p = 0.046), a lower incidence of lobular tumours (p < 0.001), higher estrogen receptor negativity (p < 0.001) and higher HER2 over-expression (p = 0.002); there was no statistical difference as regards tumour size (p = 0.477). There was no significant difference in overall survival (OS) for both groups; and factors like tumour size (p = 0.026), invasion (p = 0.026) and histological type (p = 0.027), PR (p = 0.031) and HER2 (p = 0.002) status and treatment received were independent predictors of OS
Breast cancer in younger women has distinct histopathological characteristics; however, this does not result in a reduced survival in this population.
A large proportion of women with breast cancer (BC) are elderly. However, there is a lack of information regarding BC prognostic factors and care in this population. The aims of this study were to assess the prognostic factors of relative survival (RS) among women with BC aged ≥ 75 years old and to identify the predictive factors of treatments administered to this population.
A population-based study was performed using data from the Cote d’Or breast and gynaecological cancer registry. Women aged 75 years and older with primary invasive BC and resident in Cote d’Or at the time of diagnosis made between January 1998 and December 2008 were retrospectively selected. Prognostic factors of RS were estimated in a generalized linear model with a Poisson error structure. RS rate for the whole population was given at 5 years. Logistic regression models were used to identify the predictors of the treatments administered.
Six hundred and eighty-one women were included. Median age at diagnosis was 80. Comorbidities (p=0.02), pT stage (p=0.04), metastases (p=<0.001), having a family doctor (p=0.03) and hormone-receptor status (p=0.006) were independent prognostic factors of RS. The RS rate at 5 years for the whole population was 78.2%, 95%CI = [72.2-83.0]. Age, pT stage, metastases, histoprognostic SBR grade, hormone receptor status and comorbidities were frequently found to be predictors of treatment with surgery alone, hormone therapy alone, breast conserving surgery plus adjuvant therapy and mastectomy plus adjuvant therapy.
Comorbid conditions adversely affect survival in older women with breast cancer. Moreover the results of this study showed that there are numerous predictors of the type of treatment administered, and that the most important were age and comorbidities.
Breast cancer; Elderly women; Predictors of treatment; Prognostic factors; Relative survival
The incidence of breast cancer in the unaffected breast of women with previous breast malignancy remains constant after the first diagnosis. We investigated whether there is a similar pattern in the breast cancer incidence in first-degree relatives of breast cancer patients. We studied the risk for breast cancer in mothers at ages older than their daughter's age at diagnosis.
We analyzed a Swedish population-based cohort with complete family links and calculated incidence rates of breast cancer in mothers of 48,259 daughters diagnosed with breast cancer.
The risk for breast cancer in mothers of breast cancer patients is elevated relative to the background population at all ages. Mothers have an overall incidence of 0.34%/year at ages older than a daughter's age at diagnosis. This rate is not affected to any large extent by the daughter's age at diagnosis. A constant incidence rate of 0.40%/year from age 35 years onward is seen in mothers of breast cancer patients diagnosed before 35 years of age. For mothers of daughters diagnosed at age 35 to 44 years the incidence pattern is less clear, with the rate being stable for approximately 20 years after the daughter's age at diagnosis and rising thereafter. Older age at a daughter's diagnosis (≥ 45 years) appears to confer an age-dependent increase in incidence in the mother.
Incidence of familial breast cancer in first-degree relatives may increase to a high and constant level by a predetermined age that is specific to each family. This phenomenon appears inconsistent with accepted theories of malignant transformation.
Objectives To simulate each of two hypothesised errors in the National Cancer Registry (recording of the date of recurrence of cancer, instead of the date of diagnosis, for registrations initiated from a death certificate; long term survivors who are never notified to the registry), to estimate their possible effect on relative survival, and to establish whether lower survival in the UK might be due to one or both of these errors.
Design Simulation study.
Setting National Cancer Registry of England and Wales.
Population Patients diagnosed as having breast (women), lung, or colorectal cancer during 1995-2007 in England and Wales, with follow-up to 31 December 2007.
Main outcome measure Mean absolute percentage change in one year and five year relative survival associated with each simulated error.
Results To explain the differences in one year survival after breast cancer between England and Sweden, under the first hypothesis, date of diagnosis would have to have been incorrectly recorded by an average of more than a year for more than 70% of women known to be dead. Alternatively, under the second hypothesis, failure to register even 40% of long term survivors would explain less than half the difference in one year survival. Results were similar for lung and colorectal cancers.
Conclusions Even implausibly extreme levels of the hypothesised errors in the cancer registry data could not explain the international differences in survival observed between the UK and other European countries.
OBJECTIVE: To quantify the eventual extra loss of life incurred to cancer patients in Estonia compared with those in Sweden that was possibly attributable to differences in society. DESIGN: Population based survival of cancer patients in Estonia was compared with that of Estonian immigrants to Sweden and that of all cancer patients in Sweden. The cancer sites studied were female breast and ovary, male lung and prostate, and male and female stomach and colon. SETTING: Data on incident cases of cancer were obtained from the population based Swedish and Estonian cancer registries. PARTICIPANTS: Data from Estonian patients in Sweden, Estonian patients in Estonia, and patients from the total Swedish population were included in the study. MAIN RESULTS: Differences in survival among the three populations, controlling for follow-up time and age at diagnosis, were observed in breast, colon, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers. The survival rates of Estonians living in Sweden and the total population of Sweden were better than that of the Estonians living in Estonia. For cancers of the breast and prostate, the excess mortality in the older age group (75 and above) was much greater in Estonia than in the other populations. CONCLUSIONS: Most differences in cancer survival between Estonian and Swedish populations studied could be attributed to a longer delay in diagnosis, and also to inferior treatment (including access to treatment) in Estonia compared with Sweden. Estonia's lag in socioeconomic development, particularly in its public health organisation and funding, is probably the main source of the differences observed.
Breast cancer is uncommon in young women and correlates with a less favourable prognosis; still it is the most frequent cancer in women under 40, accounting for 30–40% of all incident female cancer. The aim of this study was to study prognosis in young women, quantifying how much stage at diagnosis and management on the one hand, and tumour biology on the other; each contribute to the worse prognosis seen in this age group.
In a registry based cohort of women aged 20–69 (n = 22 017) with a primary diagnosis of invasive breast cancer (1992–2005), women aged 20–34 (n = 471), 35–39 (n = 858) and 40–49 (n = 4789) were compared with women aged 50–69 years (n = 15 899). The cumulative 5-year relative survival ratio and the relative excess mortality (RER) were calculated. The cumulative 5-year relative survival ratio was lowest in women aged 20–34. The RER was 2.84 for women aged 20–34 and decreased with increasing age (RER 1.76 and 1.17 for women aged 35–39 and 40–49, respectively). The excess risk was, however, present only in disease stages I and II. For women aged 20–34 with stage I disease RER was 4.63, and 6.70 in the subgroup with tumour size 1–10 mm. The absolute difference in stage I between the youngest and the reference groups amounted to nearly 8%, with a 90% 5-year survival in women aged 20–34. In stages IIa and IIb, the relative excess risk was not as dramatic, but the absolute differences approached 15%. The youngest women with small tumours generally received more aggressive treatment than women in older age groups.
After correction for stage, tumour characteristics and treatment, age remained an independent risk factor for breast cancer death in women <35 years of age. The excess risk for young women was only seen in early stages of disease and was most pronounced in women with small tumours. Young women affected by breast cancer have a high risk of dying compared to their middle-aged counterparts even if diagnosed early and receiving an intense treatment.
This population-based study evaluates the impact of a strong family history of breast cancer on management and survival of women with early-onset disease. We identified all breast cancer patients ⩽50 years, recorded between 1990 and 2001 at the Geneva familial breast cancer registry. We compared patients at high familial risk and low familial risk in terms of tumour characteristics, method of detection, treatment, survival and breast cancer mortality risk. Compared to patients at low familial risk (n=575), those at high familial risk (n=58) received significantly more often systemic therapy, especially for node-negative or receptor-positive disease. Five-year disease-specific survival rates of patients at high vs low familial risk were 86 and 90%, respectively. After adjustment, there was no difference in breast cancer mortality in general. A strong family history nonsignificantly increased breast cancer mortality in patients ⩽40 years (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 4.0, 95% CI 0.8–19.7) and in patients treated without chemotherapy (adjusted HR 2.7, 95% CI 0.6–12.5). A strong family history of breast cancer is associated with an increased use of systemic therapy in early-onset patients. Although a strong family history does not seem to affect survival in general, it may impair survival of very young patients and patients treated without adjuvant chemotherapy. Owing to the limited number of patients in this study, these results should be used only to generate hypotheses.
breast cancer; population-based; treatment; survival; family history
Over 40% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed above the age of 65. Treatment of these elderly patients will probably vary over countries. The aim of this study was to make an international comparison (several European countries and the US) of surgical and radiation treatment for elderly women with early stage breast cancer. Survival comparisons were also made. Data were obtained from national or regional population-based registries in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, and Portugal. For the US patients were selected from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Early stage breast cancer patients aged ≥65 diagnosed between 1995 and 2005 were included. An international comparison was made for breast and axillary surgery, radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery (BCS), and relative or cause-specific survival. Overall, 204.885 patients were included. The proportion of patients not receiving any surgery increased with age in many countries; however, differences between countries were large. In most countries more than half of all elderly patients received breast conserving surgery (BCS), with the highest percentage in Switzerland. The proportion of elderly patients that received radiotherapy after BCS decreased with age in all countries. Moreover, in all countries the proportion of patients who do not receive axillary surgery increased with age. No large differences in survival between countries were recorded. International comparisons of surgical treatment for elderly women with early stage breast cancer are scarce. This study showed large international differences in treatment of elderly early stage breast cancer patients, with the most striking result the large proportion of elderly who did not undergo surgery at all. Despite large treatment differences, survival does not seem to be affected in a major way.
Breast cancer; Elderly; Surgery; Treatment; Survival; Population-based
The relative survival of breast cancer patients diagnosed in 1995–2005 from the Netherlands Cancer Registry was examined and stratified by age group. In contrast to younger patients and in spite of similarly intensified treatment, the relative survival of elderly patients showed no improvement over this time period.
The number of elderly women with breast cancer is increasing and will become a major health concern. However, little is known about the optimal treatment for this age group. The aim of this study was to describe time trends for the overall Dutch breast cancer cohort with an emphasis on differences between young and elderly patients.
All adult female patients diagnosed in 1995–2005 were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Relative excess risks for death (adjusted for stage, histology, treatment, and grade) were estimated using a multivariate generalized linear model with a Poisson distribution, based on collapsed relative survival data, using exact survival times.
Overall, 127,805 patients were included. Treatment of patients aged ≥75 years changed significantly over time: they received less surgery, more adjuvant hormonal treatment and chemotherapy, and more hormonal treatment without surgery. In contrast to younger patients, the relative survival did not improve significantly over time for elderly patients. With increasing age, the observed–expected death ratio decreased to almost 1.0.
Survival for elderly patients with breast cancer did not improve significantly. Observed–expected death ratios in the elderly are close to 1, indicating that excess mortality is low. Elderly patients with breast cancer have a higher risk for overtreatment and undertreatment, with a delicate therapeutic balance between breast cancer survival gain and potential toxicities. To improve breast cancer survival in the elderly, a critical reappraisal is needed of costs and benefits of hormonal as well as other treatments, and better selection of patients who can benefit from available therapies is warranted.
Breast cancer; Elderly; Relative survival; Population based
Reproductive events and family history as risk factors for breast cancer in northern Alberta were investigated with the use of data from a computerized population-based registry. Women aged 30 to 79 years attending diagnostic breast clinics at the Cross Cancer Institute from 1971 through 1975 constituted the two study groups; 1232 women had diagnosed breast cancer (malignant disease group) and 602 women were clinically free of all types of breast disease (control group). An increased relative risk of breast cancer was found in women with a family history of breast cancer, those who gave birth to their first term infant at age 30 years or older, those in whom more than 15 years elapsed between menarche and that birth, and those with a late natural menopause. There was a decreased risk, relative to nulliparity, in the postmenopausal women who first gave birth to a term infant 5 years or less after menarche. Artificial menopause (bilateral oophorectomy), parity and age at menarche had no apparent effect on the risk. The pattern of risk factors in northern Alberta differed from that reported for other geographic areas, including other provinces of Canada, thus emphasizing the need for local studies in the planning of screening programs.
For women with early stage breast cancer, physician-patient discussion of breast reconstruction is an essential step in their participation in the decision-making process for their treatments. This study examines sociodemographic variation of physician-patient discussion of breast reconstruction and explores the impact of this discussion on the use of breast reconstruction.
We used data from the Los Angeles Women’s Study, a population-based study of women 50 years and older with breast cancer. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate the impact of patient and hospital characteristics on self-reported receipt of physician-patient discussion and use of breast reconstruction.
Of 315 post-mastectomy women, 81% and 27% reported physician-patient discussion and use of breast reconstruction, respectively. In multivariable analysis, women with an annual income <$20,000 were less likely to have physician-patient discussion than women with annual income ≥$40,000 (OR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.07–0.82). Among the subset of women with physician-patient discussion, chest wall radiation, a known characteristic associated with higher rates of reconstruction complications, became an additional significant negative predictor of reconstruction.
Lower income women are at risk of not receiving physician-patient discussion of breast reconstruction. Physician-patient discussion of breast reconstruction appears to decrease the use of breast reconstruction among women with clinical characteristics associated with higher rates of reconstruction complications and failure. This highlights the need for interventions to increase physician-patient discussion of breast reconstruction among lower income women.
breast reconstruction; decision-making; low income
Given differences in cancer survival by race, black women may differ from white women in breast cancer risk perceptions.
To evaluate black-white differences in risk perceptions of breast cancer survival and screening mammography benefit.
A written survey was administered to a random sample of women attending general internal medicine clinics.
Black and white women, ages 40 to 69.
Risk perceptions were measured regarding (1) average 5-year survival after a breast cancer diagnosis and (2) relative risk reduction of screening mammography. Women's risk perceptions were defined as being accurate, as well as more or less pessimistic. Measured patient characteristics included race, age, family history of breast cancer, income, insurance, education, and numeracy. Unadjusted Pearson χ2 tests and adjusted multivariable regression analyses were done.
Black women were more likely than white women to accurately perceive breast cancer survival in both unadjusted (48% vs 26%, P <.001) and adjusted analyses (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=3.58; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.56 to 8.21). Black women were also more likely to accurately perceive the benefit of screening mammography in unadjusted (39% vs 15%, P <.001) and adjusted analyses (AOR=2.70; 95% CI=1.09 to 6.69). Black women were more likely to have a more pessimistic perception of mammography benefit in unadjusted (47% vs 15%, P <.0001) and adjusted analyses (AOR=3.94; 95% CI=1.62 to 9.56).
Awareness of risk perceptions can help physicians to tailor patient education. Physician acknowledgment of more accurate risk perceptions among black women may serve as a basis to improve patient-physician communication.
breast cancer; cancer screening; race & ethnicity; risk assessment
To understand the impact of breast cancer on older women's survival, we compared survival of older women diagnosed with breast cancer with matched controls.
Using the linked 1992 to 2003 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) -Medicare data set, we identified women age 67 years or older who were newly diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or breast cancer. We identified women not diagnosed with breast cancer from the 5% random sample of Medicare beneficiaries residing in SEER areas. We matched patient cases to controls by birth year and registry (99% or 66,039 patient cases matched successfully). We assigned the start of follow-up for controls as the patient cases' date of diagnosis. Mortality data were available through 2006. We compared survival of women with breast cancer by stage with survival of controls using multivariable proportional hazards models adjusting for age at diagnosis, comorbidity, prior mammography use, and sociodemographics. We repeated these analyses stratifying by age.
Median follow-up time was 7.7 years. Differences between patient cases and controls in sociodemographics and comorbidities were small (< 4%). Women diagnosed with DCIS (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.7; 95% CI, 0.7 to 0.7) or stage I disease (aHR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.8 to 0.8) had slightly lower mortality than controls. Women diagnosed with stage II disease or higher had greater mortality than controls (stage II disease: aHR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.2 to 1.2). The association of a breast cancer diagnosis with mortality declined with age among women with advanced disease.
Compared with matched controls, a diagnosis of DCIS or stage I breast cancer in older women is associated with better survival, whereas a diagnosis of stage II or higher breast cancer is associated with worse survival.
A substantial literature describes age-dependent variations in breast cancer treatment, showing that older women are less likely to receive standard treatment than are younger women. We sought to identify patient and tumor characteristics associated with the non-receipt of standard primary tumor and systemic adjuvant therapies.
We studied 1,859 women aged 65 years or older with stage I and II breast cancer diagnosed between 1990 and 1994 who were cared for in six geographically dispersed community-based health care systems. We collected demographic, tumor, treatment, and comorbidity data from electronic data sources, including cancer registry, administrative, and clinical databases, and from subjects’ medical records.
Women 75 years of age or older and those with higher comorbidy indices were more likely to receive non-standard primary tumor therapy; to not receive axillary lymph node dissection; and to not receive radiation therapy following breast conserving surgery. Asian women were less likely to receive breast conserving surgery and African American women were less likely to be prescribed tamoxifen. Although non-receipt of most therapies was associated with a lower baseline risk of recurrence, an important minority of high risk women (16–30%) did not received guideline therapies.
Age is an independent risk factor for non-receipt of effective cancer therapies, even when comorbidity and risk of recurrence are taken into account. Information regarding treatment effectiveness in this age group and tools that allow physicians and patients to estimate the benefits versus the risks of therapies, taking into account age and comorbidity burden, are critically needed.
breast cancer; older women; patterns of care