By Hallie Levine Sklar
Young Women Who Get Breast Cancer Are More Likely to
Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40 have slightly
poorer prognoses than older women: Their five-year survival rate is about 82
percent, compared with 85 percent among women ages 40 to 74, according to the
American Cancer Society (ACS). Why? "Younger women are more likely to have
more aggressive tumors," explains Lisa Carey, M.D., medical director of the
University of North Carolina...
In men with node-negative tumors, adjuvant therapy should be considered on the same basis as for a woman with breast cancer since there is no evidence that response to therapy is different for men or women.
In men with node-positive tumors, both chemotherapy plus tamoxifen and other hormonal therapy have been used and can increase survival to the same extent as in women with breast cancer. Currently, no controlled studies have compared adjuvant treatment options. Approximately 85% of all male breast cancers are estrogen receptor–positive, and 70% of them are progesterone receptor–positive.[2,6] Response to hormone therapy correlates with presence of receptors. Hormonal therapy has been recommended in all receptor-positive patients.[1,2] Tamoxifen use, however, is associated with a high rate of treatment-limiting symptoms, such as hot flashes and impotence in male breast cancer patients. (Refer to the PDQ summaries on Fever, Sweats, and Hot Flashes and Sexuality and Reproductive Issues for more information on these symptoms.) Responses are generally similar to those seen in women with breast cancer. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Breast Cancer Treatment for more information.)
Surgical excision or radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy is recommended. Responses are generally similar to those seen in women with breast cancer.[2,5] (Refer to the PDQ summary on Breast Cancer Treatment for more information.)
Hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both have been used with some success. Initially, hormonal therapy is recommended.[2,5]
Hormonal modalities include:
Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist with or without total androgen blockage (anti-androgen).
Tamoxifen for estrogen receptor–positive patients.
Hormonal therapies may be used sequentially. Standard chemotherapy combinations of CMF and CAF are recommended after failure of hormonal therapy. Responses are generally similar to those seen in women with breast cancer. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Breast Cancer Treatment for more information.)
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