Breast cancer is often considered more deadly among younger women, but a new study shows older women are actually more likely to die of the disease.
Researchers found that among women who had been diagnosed with a certain type of breast cancer, those over 75 years old were 63 percent more likely to die of the cancer than women younger than 65.
"I suspect it's undertreatment," said Dr. Stephen Jones, one of the authors of the study and the medical director at US Oncology Research in Texas. "We did show the rates of chemotherapy and radiation therapy are less in the older group."
Jones and his colleagues tracked nearly 10,000 women who had already gone through menopause and who had been diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.
That is the most common type of the disease, and it is considered less dangerous than the hormone receptor-negative types because it is often slower growing and might respond to hormone treatments.
Younger women are more likely than older women to have the receptor-negative cancer and they also tend to get diagnosed at a later stage, leading to the idea that breast cancer is more deadly for them.