How long are elderly patients followed up with mammography after the diagnosis of breast cancer? A single-centre experience in a developing country
AbstractBackground. The effect of breast cancer on elderly South African (SA) patients is not well characterised. The lack of data with regard to disease burden, post-treatment surveillance and breast cancer relapse poses a challenge to providing optimum follow-up care to this group of patients.
Objectives. To assess the effect of breast cancer and adherence to post-treatment surveillance programmes among the local elderly population attending the breast oncology clinics at Addington and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central hospitals in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, SA.
Methods. A retrospective review was undertaken of all patients aged ≥65 years diagnosed with breast cancer during 2007. Hospital records were reviewed for a period of 5 years to ascertain the stage of the disease, treatment received, adherence to post-treatment surveillance mammograms, incidence of new mammographic findings and recurrence, site of recurrence, mode of detection of recurrence, disease-free survival, and overall survival rates at 5 years.
Results. In our study, the incidence of breast cancer in the elderly population was 26.7%. A significant percentage of patients (56.3%) were diagnosed at an advanced stage of disease. Of the 46.9% who had received surveillance mammography, only 6.3% received their post-treatment surveillance mammograms on time, in accordance with international recommendations. New mammographic findings were detected in 26.7% of patients during the 5-year follow-up. During the follow-up period, 15.6% of the total number of study patients presented with disease recurrence. Eighty percent of cases of recurrence were detected clinically. The overall survival at 5 years was 65.6%.
Conclusion. Our study highlights the significant number of elderly patients with advanced disease at diagnosis, poor compliance with internationally recommended annual post-treatment surveillance mammograms, and the relatively low overall 5-year survival rate compared with that of international studies.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the SAMJ is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The SAMJ does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.
Previously published images
If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.