Studies reporting lower rates of surgery for older women with early invasive breast cancer have focused on women with oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumours. This study examined the factors that influence receipt of breast surgery in older women with ER-positive and ER-negative early invasive breast cancer .
Women aged 50 years or above with unilateral stage 1–3A early invasive breast cancer diagnosed in 2014–2017 were identified from linked English and Welsh cancer registration and routine hospital data sets. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the influence of tumour and patient factors on receipt of surgery.
Among 83 188 women, 86.8 per cent had ER-positive and 13.2 per cent had ER-negative early invasive breast cancer. These proportions were unaffected by age at diagnosis. Compared with women with ER-negative breast cancer, a higher proportion of women with ER-positive breast cancer presented with low risk tumour characteristics: G1 (20.0 versus 1.5 per cent), T1 (60.8 versus 44.2 per cent) and N0 (73.9 versus 68.8 per cent). The proportions of women with any recorded co-morbidity (13.7 versus 14.3 per cent) or degree of frailty (25 versus 25.8 per cent) were similar among women with ER-positive and ER-negative disease respectively. In women with ER-positive early invasive breast cancer aged 70–74, 75–79 and 80 years or above, the rate of no surgery was 5.6, 11.0 and 41.9 per cent respectively. Among women with ER-negative early invasive breast cancer, the corresponding rates were 3.8, 3.7 and 12.3 per cent. The relatively lower rate of surgery for ER-positive breast cancer persisted in women with good fitness.
The reasons for the observer differences should be further explored to ensure consistency in treatment decisions.