Good News for Women 67 + Years Diagnosed with Early Stage Disease

A large study found that women older than 67 diagnosed with either ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or stage I breast cancer were just as likely to be alive 10 years after diagnosis as women not diagnosed with breast cancer.

DCIS is a non-invasive¬† breast cancer. DCIS stays inside the breast milk duct, it doesn’t spread outside the milk duct into the surrounding normal breast tissue or into the lymph nodes and to other organs.

Stage I is the earliest stage of  an invasive breast cancer. In stage 1, the cancer cells are invading neighboring normal tissue but have not spread to the lymph nodes.

Older women diagnosed with stage II, stage III, or stage IV breast cancer were less likely to be alive 10 years after diagnosis compared to women not diagnosed with breast cancer. These research finding were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers followed two groups of women:

  • 64,894 women diagnosed with either DCIS or invasive breast cancer
  • 64,894 similar women who weren’t diagnosed with breast cancer

The women diagnosed with breast cancer were matched to the healthy women. The researchers made sure that the diagnosed women were very similar in factors such as age, general health, lifestyle, and where they lived to the women who weren’t diagnosed.

All the women were older than 67. They were followed for about 8 years. The researchers projected 10-year survival rates for all the women and compared the projected survival rates of women diagnosed with DCIS or invasive breast cancer to the rates of women not diagnosed with breast cancer.

Women diagnosed with DCIS were 10% more likely to be alive after 10 years compared to women not diagnosed with breast cancer.

Women diagnosed with stage I breast cancer were just as likely to be alive after 10 years compared to women not diagnosed with breast cancer.

Women diagnosed with stage II, III, or IV breast cancer were less likely to be alive after 10 years compared to women not diagnosed with breast cancer:

  • women diagnosed with stage II breast cancer were 15% less likely to be alive
  • women diagnosed with stage III breast cancer were 55% less likely to be alive
  • women diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer were 88% less likely to be alive

Researchers believe that the good outcomes of women diagnosed with DCIS or stage I breast cancer are probably because most of the women received the right treatment at the right time. The results underscore the value of regular screening mammograms to detect DCIS and invasive breast cancer in older women.

If you’re having problems scheduling a mammogram, call the National Cancer Institute (800-4-CANCER) or the American College of Radiology (800-227-5463) to find certified mammogram providers near you.

This entry was posted in Breast Cancer, breast cancer research, DCIS, Monday's with Jean Campbell, Navigating Breast Cancer, stage I breast cancer, survivor and tagged , , , , , , , , , .