Quality of life in breast cancer patients aged over 70 years, participating in the EORTC 10850 randomised clinical trial.

Mastectomy and breast-conserving treatment have proven equally effective in terms of survival in early breast cancer, but studies continue to provide evidence that patients undergoing breast-conserving procedures have a better quality of life (QOL). Age is not considered to be a contraindication for breast-conserving treatment, but retrospective studies have indicated that elderly patients are less likely to be treated conservatively. In the present study, survival, QOL and treatment preference have been investigated in a multicentre, randomised clinical trial of elderly patients with early breast cancer undergoing mastectomy or tumour excision plus tamoxifen. Eligible patients were aged 70 years or more and had histologically- or cytologically-confirmed operable breast cancer. A QOL questionnaire consisting of 36 items was constructed covering 9 scales assessing different QOL domains. Patients completed their assessment between 2 and 12 months after randomisation. 136 patients (65 in the mastectomy arm and 71 in the local excision arm) from six centres filled out a QOL form during the first year of follow-up. No significant difference in the duration of survival between the two treatment arms was observed when including patients included in the QOL sub-study (P=0.33). Patients undergoing tumour excision and tamoxifen did not differ from those undergoing mastectomy in terms of fatigue, emotional functioning, fear of recurrence, social support, physical functioning and leisure time activities. However, conservatively treated patients reported fewer arm problems (P=0.04) and a shift, although borderline significant, in the direction of a benefit in body image (P=0.06). As QOL seems to be better after conservative treatment, such treatment is to be preferred in both elderly and younger patients.
AuthorsJ C J M de Haes, D Curran, N K Aaronson, I S Fentiman
JournalEuropean journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990) (Eur J Cancer) Vol. 39 Issue 7 Pg. 945-51 (May 2003) ISSN: 0959-8049 [Print] England
PMID12706363 (Publication Type: Clinical Trial, Journal Article, Multicenter Study, Randomized Controlled Trial)
Chemical References
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Tamoxifen
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal (therapeutic use)
  • Breast Neoplasms (drug therapy, psychology, surgery)
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy (methods, psychology)
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tamoxifen (therapeutic use)

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