There is a tendency to opt for non-surgical interventions in elderly women with breast cancer. Although surgery offers the most effective form of locoregional control, there is concern that increased operative risk from existing comorbidities and a limited life expectancy outweigh the benefits of surgery. Primary endocrine therapy (PET) appears as a viable alternative. Tumours in the elderly are often hormone responsive and tend to progress slowly, making them particularly amenable to hormonal therapy. Although not curative, PET can confer fairly good locoregional control to allow for a reasonable quality of life. This is particularly relevant in women whose life expectancy is limited by serious comorbidities and who are expected to die with the breast cancer. PET is especially appealing to elderly Asian women, who often believe themselves to be too old and frail to undergo surgery. In this study, we reviewed our experience with PET in a series of elderly women with operable breast cancer, focusing particularly on disease control and compliance to treatment.
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