Breast Cancer Care in Women Over 65

Age has always been a risk factor for cancer, but as the population ages, oncologists are seeing more and more cancer patients over 65.

“Almost 45 percent of new breast cancer cases diagnosed in the United States in 2013 occurred in women older than 65 years,” says Ewa Mrozek, MD, a medical oncologist at the OSUCCC – James.

Because of this trend, physicians, researchers and other medical experts must work together to ensure that cancer care is customized to each individual’s unique circumstances.

“Aging is a very individualized process,” Mrozek says. “There are a lot of women who will age without having significant medical problems, who will be fully functional and independent. And there are women with multiple co-existing medical problems, including geriatric syndromes like depression, cognitive impairment, risk of falls and need for social support.”

Cancer care for men and women over 65 should be well coordinated to include experts in oncology, geriatrics, rehabilitative medicine, nutrition and social work.

To meet these increasing needs of older patients with breast cancer, the OSUCCC – James has opened the Senior Adult Breast Oncology Clinic.

“There is no routine breast cancer,” Mrozek says. “In our clinic, each patient will be assessed to create an individualized treatment plan based on the outcome of a comprehensive geriatric assessment that incorporates the wishes of the patient or caregiver.”

Experts at the OSUCCC – James are also poised to conduct extensive research regarding optimal treatment of older patients.

“We have proposed a clinical trial that will allow us to gather information on the breast cancer characteristics in older patients; treatment options presented to those patients; patients' outcome; utility of comprehensive geriatric assessment; and interventions triggered by comprehensive geriatric assessment,” Mrozek says.

To learn more about the Senior Adult Breast Oncology Clinic, call The James Line at 800-293-5066. You can also visit cancer.osu.edu for more information on breast cancer prevention, detection, treatment and research.