The following article features coverage from the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) in San Antonio, Texas. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage. 

For patients with breast cancer ages 65 years and older, the patient’s surgeon, spouse, and general practitioner are the most influential people regarding their decision to undergo breast reconstruction, according to a study presented at the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS 2017). 

The study comes from the Centre Oscar Lambret in Lille, France, where only 6% of women ages 65 years and older choose breast reconstruction. Patients in this age group who had undergone breast reconstruction at the center from January 2006 to July 2016 completed a questionnaire about breast reconstruction and their decision to undergo the procedure. Their responses were compared to a control group that underwent mastectomy but did not choose breast reconstruction.

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Patients who chose breast reconstruction were given more dedicated information before mastectomy about reconstruction. Although 41% of patients sought information from outside sources including other patients, friends, and the Internet, the most influential people were the patient’s surgeon, husband, and general practitioner. Furthermore, approximately 66.7% of women in the mastectomy group considered their age an obstacle to breast reconstruction, compared with only 3.8% of those in the reconstruction group.

The researchers suggest that dedicated information provided at the time of initial support should help women older than 65 years to realize that their age is not a limiting factor for breast reconstruction.


Quemener J, Wallet J, Boulanger L, et al. Determinants in decision-making process of breast reconstruction in women over 65 years old. Poster presentation at: 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; December 6-9, 2017; San Antonio, TX. Abstract P4-13-07.