New Breast Cancer Study: Possible Treatment Options for Older Women

New Breast Cancer Study: Possible Treatment Options for Older Women

One of the biggest changes in breast cancer management is more tailored, patient specific treatment regimens. No longer does one cure fit all – advances in classification of breast cancers, new treatment options and new treatment strategies are revolutionizing breast cancer therapy.


A new study, announced this past week at the 36th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, suggests a potential change in the way doctors approach our older (in the study averaging just over 70 years of age) breast cancer patients.


The study found in this group of older women with breast cancer that survival was not adversely affected by performing breast-conserving surgery followed by adjuvant endocrine therapy without the addition of radiation therapy. So, lumpectomy followed by treatment with a medication like arimidex or tamoxifen may be an option for women 70 years of age or older. Not having to go through radiation therapy, with its risks and the additional time involved, would be a benefit. This treatment strategy will need to be proven effective in a larger group of women, and use will be affected by hormone receptor status of the cancer.


From the article:


“When I was in training 40 years ago, we were in the era of more is better. Everybody thought that more treatment, more surgery, more radiation, high-dose chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplant would be better. That’s turning out, as we’ve evolved over the last 3 decades, not to be the case,” Dr. Osborne explained.


More is not always best – or always needed! Research refining our treatment protocols is an important step in leading to a more tailored, individual approach to treating and beating breast cancer.




Image credit: Nci-vol-4466-300 female radiation therapist by Rhoda Baer (via Wikimedia Commons) Copyright Public Domain NIH

Originally published 12/20/13 on