Breast cancer: diagnosis-to-treatment waiting times for elderly women at a reference hospital of São Paulo, Brazil

Camila Brandão Souza Suzete Maria Fustinoni Maria Helena Costa Amorim Eliana Zandonade Jéssica Carvalho Matos Janine Schirmer About the authors

Resumo

Objetivou-se analisar o tempo entre o diagnóstico e o início do tratamento e conhecer o perfil sociodemográfico e clínico de mulheres com 60 ou mais anos de idade, diagnosticadas com câncer de mama entre os anos de 2001 a 2006, no Hospital Pérola Byington, São Paulo. Trata-se de um estudo descritivo, com dados secundários e amostra de 1299 casos. Coletou-se variáveis sociodemográficas, clínicas e temporais. Formou-se dois grupos de mulheres utilizando a variável tempo, sendo o tempo entre o diagnóstico e o início do tratamento: “até e maior que 60 dias”. A média do tempo entre o diagnóstico e o início do tratamento foi de 74,7 dias (DP = 212,6), e o tempo mediano de 45 dias. As idosas sem o diagnóstico e sem o tratamento anterior levaram menos tempo para dar início ao tratamento (p = 0,001), bem como as mulheres com estadiamento do tumor na fase inicial, in situ e I (p = 0,001). O tempo foi significante para os desfechos de recidiva (p = 0,004) e metástase (p = 0,038). O diagnóstico e o tratamento estabelecidos garantiu às idosas menor tempo para o início da assistência devida. Melhorar a estruturação e o funcionamento dos serviços de saúde constitui fator imprescindível para o atendimento dos casos da doença de forma eficiente, um importante desafio para o Sistema Único de Saúde.

Neoplasias da mama; Idosa; Tratamento; Diagnóstico; Atraso

Abstract

This study compares waiting time from diagnosis of breast cancer to start of treatment with patients’ social-demographic and clinical profiles in women aged 60 or more at the PérolaByington Hospital, São Paulo, over the years 2001–2006.It is a descriptive study based on secondary data in a sample of 1,299 cases. Social-demographic, clinical and temporal variables were collected. Patients were divided into two groups: those with period between diagnosis and start of treatment less than 60 days, and greater than 60 days. The average time between diagnosis and start of treatment was 74.7 days (SD = 212.6), and the median time was 45 days. This waiting time was lower for subjects without diagnosis and without prior treatment (p = 0.001), and also for those with tumors at Stage 0, in situ or Stage I(p = 0.001). Time was significant for the outcomes of relapse (p = 0.004) and metastasis (p = 0.038). Having established diagnosis and treatment also resulted in lower time to start of the required care. Improvement to the structuring and functioning of the health service is an essential need, for dealing with the cases of the disease in an efficient manner, an important challenge for Brazil’s Unified Health System.

Breast cancer; Mammary neoplasia; Elderly women; Treatment; Diagnosis; Delay

Introduction

Breast cancer is the most common cause of death among women and, with the exception of non-melanoma skin cancer, is the most frequently occurring type of cancer in 140 countries11. World Health Organization. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Latest world cancer statistics. Global cancer burden rises to 14.1 million new cases in 2012: Marked increase in breast cancers must be addressed. 2013. [acessado 2014 ago 8]. Disponível em: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2013/pdfs/pr223_E.pdf
http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/20...
. In Brazil, a total of 57,120 new cases were estimated for the years 2014 and 2015, with an estimated risk of 56.09 cases for each 100,000 women22. Instituto Nacional de Câncer José Alencar Gomes da Silva. Coordenação de Prevenção e Vigilância. Estimativa 2014: Incidência de Câncer no Brasil / Instituto Nacional de Câncer. Rio de Janeiro: INCA; 2014. [acessado 2014 ago 9]. Disponível em: http://www.saude.sp.gov.br/resources/ses/perfil/gestor/homepage/outros-destaques/estimativa-de-incidencia-de-cancer-2014/estimativa_cancer_24042014.pdf
http://www.saude.sp.gov.br/resources/ses...
. For the same period the forecast is 30,740 new cases in Brazil’s Southeastern region alone11. World Health Organization. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Latest world cancer statistics. Global cancer burden rises to 14.1 million new cases in 2012: Marked increase in breast cancers must be addressed. 2013. [acessado 2014 ago 8]. Disponível em: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2013/pdfs/pr223_E.pdf
http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/20...
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The increase in the occurrence of cancer is not only due to increased life expectancy, but is also related to the improvement in diagnostic technology, and the expansion of surveillance programs33. Instituto Nacional do Câncer. Normas e Recomendações do Ministério da Saúde Controle do câncer de mama. Controle do Câncer de Mama - Documento de Consenso. Rev Brasileira de Cancerologia 2004; 50(2):77-90.. In the developed countries its frequency is greater, and could also be related to more advanced records, and sedentary and reproductive habits44. Porter P. “Westernizing” women’s risks? Breast cancer in lower-income countries. N Engl J Med 2008; 358(3):213-216.. The mortality coefficients are higher in the developing countries11. World Health Organization. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Latest world cancer statistics. Global cancer burden rises to 14.1 million new cases in 2012: Marked increase in breast cancers must be addressed. 2013. [acessado 2014 ago 8]. Disponível em: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2013/pdfs/pr223_E.pdf
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, a reflection of inequalities in health55. World Health Organization. Global Health Inequalities and Breast Cancer: An Impending Public Health Problem for Developing Countries. [acessado 2015 jun 2]. Disponível em: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1524-4741.2008.00618.x/full
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Breast cancer progresses slowly and, if diagnosed early, the possibility of cure or prolongation of survival is considerably increased66. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA). Atlas de Mortalidade por câncer. [acessado 2012 out 10]. Disponível em: http://mortalidade.inca.gov.br/Mortalidade/prepararModelo05.action
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. It is rare before the age of 35, but above this age group its incidence is rapid, growing and progressive77. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA).Tipos de Câncer. Mama. [acessado 2012 out 25]. Disponível em: http://www2.inca.gov.br/wps/wcm/connect/tiposdecancer/site/home/mama/cancer_mama+
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. Almost four out of every five cases takes place after the age of 5022. Instituto Nacional de Câncer José Alencar Gomes da Silva. Coordenação de Prevenção e Vigilância. Estimativa 2014: Incidência de Câncer no Brasil / Instituto Nacional de Câncer. Rio de Janeiro: INCA; 2014. [acessado 2014 ago 9]. Disponível em: http://www.saude.sp.gov.br/resources/ses/perfil/gestor/homepage/outros-destaques/estimativa-de-incidencia-de-cancer-2014/estimativa_cancer_24042014.pdf
http://www.saude.sp.gov.br/resources/ses...
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In the United States, in 2005, half of the patients diagnosed with breast cancer were over 65; and in 2015 it is estimated that this percentage will increase by 30%88. Hurria A, Naeim A, Elkin E, Limaye S, Grover A, Hudis C, Pearce C, Robson M. Adjuvant treatment recommendations in older woman with breast cancer: a survey of oncologists. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2007; 3(61):255-260.. Populations with higher life expectancy, such as Switzerland, have the highest prevalence of this type of cancer in Europe, with old people representing 12% of that country’s total cases99. Bouchardy C, Rapiti E, Fioretta G, Laissue P, Neyrold-Caspar I, Schäfer P, Kurtz J, Sappino AP, Vlastos G. Undertreatment strongly decreases prognosis of breast cancer in elderly woman. J Clin Oncol 2003; 19(21):3580-3587..

Studies on the interval between diagnosis and start of treatment are important for deciding resolution measures. In Brazil there are tools, such as theRegistro de Câncer de Base Populacional (RCBP) and theRegistro Hospitalar de Câncer (RHC), which help in monitoring and evaluation of action for control and research on cancer, as well as helping indecisions on evaluation of the effects of treatments and control of the variables recorded for each tumor1010. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Manual de Rotinas e Procedimentos para Registros de Câncer de Base Populacional. Rio de Janeiro, INCA, 2006. [acessado 2012 out 26]. Disponível em: http://www.inca.gov.br/vigilancia/download/manual_rotinas_procedimentos_rcbp.pdf
http://www.inca.gov.br/vigilancia/downlo...
,1111. Pinto IV, Ramos DN, Costa MCE, Ferreira CBT, Rebelo MS. Completude e consistência dos dados dos registros hospitalares de câncer no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro. Cad. Saúde Colet 2012; 1(20):113-120.. Information in the RHCs has provided input for several studies1212. Albrecht CAM. Análise de Sobrevida de Pacientes com Câncer de Mama Atendidas no Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia, na Cidade de Vitória, Espírito Santo [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2011.

13. Edwards D, Bell J. Cancer registries: future development and uses in Britain. J Public Health Med 2000; 2(22):216-219.
-1414. Figueiredo GPZ. Câncer em Crianças e Adolescentes no Hospital de Referência do Estado do Espírito Santo: Uma Análise de 25 Anos [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2012., and analyses of time trends of the phenomena associated with the disease1111. Pinto IV, Ramos DN, Costa MCE, Ferreira CBT, Rebelo MS. Completude e consistência dos dados dos registros hospitalares de câncer no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro. Cad. Saúde Colet 2012; 1(20):113-120..

The delay between diagnosis and start of treatment worsens breast cancer, making it progressive and irreversible1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.. Responding to this, Law 12732, enacted in November 2012, gave cancer patients a legal right to start of treatment in a period of 60 days or less after confirmation of diagnosis1616. Brasil. Presidência da República. Lei N°12.732, de novembro de 2012. Dispõe sobre o primeiro tratamento de pacientes com neoplasia maligna comprovada e estabelece prazo para seu início. Diário Oficial da União2012; 23 nov..

There are three components of delay in treatment of breast cancer: From the moment when the woman presents symptoms until her arrival at the health service; between attended by a doctor and her first access to specialized care for confirmation of the diagnosis; and finally between that access/diagnosis and the start of treatment1717. Coates AS. Breast cancer: delays, dilemmas, and delusions.Lancet 1999; 353(9158):1112-1113.. Any individual patient may suffer delays in various phases of her diagnosis and treatment1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76..

Access, and the time for diagnosis and treatment of this type of cancer vary, depending on geographical and socio-economic factors1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.. Delay can adversely affect prognosis, reducing the chances of cure, due to the growth of the tumor1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.,1818. Cant PJ, Yu DSL. Impact of the ‘2 week wait’ directive for suspected cancer on service provision in a symptomatic breast clinic. Br J Surg 2000; 87(8):1082-1086.

19. Ramirez AJ, Westcombe AM, Burgess CC. Factors predicting delayed presentation of symptomatic breast cancer: a systematic review.Lancet 1999; 353(9159): 1127-1131.
-2020. Olivotto IA, Gomi A, Bancej C, Brisson J, Tonita J, Kan L, Zeva M, Harrison M, Shumak R. Influence of delay to diagnosis on prognostic indicators of screen-detected breast carcinoma. Cancer 2002; 94(8):2143-2150.. There is an association between delay from diagnosis to treatment and shorter progression-free survival, lymph node metastasis, the size of the tumor, and its staging2121. Huo Q, Cai C, Zhang Y, Kong X, Jiang L, Ma T, Zhang N, Yang Q. Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Symptomatic Breast Cancer in China.Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22(3):883-888.. On the other hand early detection is related to higher rates of cure2121. Huo Q, Cai C, Zhang Y, Kong X, Jiang L, Ma T, Zhang N, Yang Q. Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Symptomatic Breast Cancer in China.Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22(3):883-888.,2222. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA). Controle do Câncer de Mama. Detecção Precoce. [acessado 2014 ago 10]. Disponível em: http://www2.inca.gov.br/wps/wcm/connect/acoes_programas/site/home/nobrasil/programa_controle_cancer_mama/deteccao_precoce
http://www2.inca.gov.br/wps/wcm/connect/...
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The law guaranteeing cancer patients treatment in up to 60 days after diagnosis is recent1616. Brasil. Presidência da República. Lei N°12.732, de novembro de 2012. Dispõe sobre o primeiro tratamento de pacientes com neoplasia maligna comprovada e estabelece prazo para seu início. Diário Oficial da União2012; 23 nov., while networks to promote control of cancer have existed for longer2323. Rede Câncer. Entenda a Rede. [acessado 2014 ago 12]. Disponível em: http://www.redecancer.org.br/wps/wcm/connect/entendarede/site/home/o_que_e
http://www.redecancer.org.br/wps/wcm/con...
. The consolidation of the concept of Network as a strategy for managing oncological care in Brazil emerged in 2003. Brazil’s National Cancer Institute – INCA (the Instituto Nacional de Câncer José Alencar Gomes da Silva), in partnership with the Health Ministry, planned a common agenda for actions to control cancer, involving various spheres of society, aiming to reduce cancer incidence and mortality in the population and assure quality of life for patients and their families. One of its aims was to strengthen planning and assessment of actions for oncological care, stimulating integration of this care in the health system and optimization of resources2323. Rede Câncer. Entenda a Rede. [acessado 2014 ago 12]. Disponível em: http://www.redecancer.org.br/wps/wcm/connect/entendarede/site/home/o_que_e
http://www.redecancer.org.br/wps/wcm/con...
. The Network possibly improves the effectiveness of breast cancer treatment in Brazil, helping in early diagnosis, and reduction of delays between diagnosis and treatment, because it is an indicator of efficacy and of the efficiency of the Service in all the phases of treatment of breast cancer.

With all the above in mind, this study analyzes time between diagnosis and start of treatment in elderly women diagnosed with breast cancer over the years 2001–2006, at a r service in São Paulo, São Paulo State, Brazil, and to discover the profile of these elderly women in terms of initial staging, primary location, tumor histological type, relapse, metastasis and treatments given.

Methodology

This is a descriptive study, with secondary data. The population was constituted as all the cases occurring of elderly women with diagnosis of breast cancer who received treatment at the Pérola Byington Hospital, Women’s Health Reference Center, in the municipality of São Paulo, over the period January 2001 to December 2006, registered in the Health Information System of the Cancer Hospital Registry (SIS-RHC) – a total of 1,299 cases.

The Women’s Health Reference Center of the Pérola Byington Hospital, in the municipality of São Paulo, has the mission of providing outpatient and medical-hospital care, of reference quality, for the population of greater São Paulo, in the areas of human reproduction, and genital and mammary gynecology and oncology2424. Hospital Pérola Byington. Centro de Referência da Saúde da Mulher, no Município de São Paulo. O Hospital. [acessado 2015 jul 26]. Disponível em: http://www.hospitalperola.com.br/o-hospital.php
http://www.hospitalperola.com.br/o-hospi...
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This hospital’s level of therapy in mammary and gynecological cancer, among other activities, is gaining increasing recognition. It also maintains partnership activities with teaching institutions, and organizations in research, technology and community health education2424. Hospital Pérola Byington. Centro de Referência da Saúde da Mulher, no Município de São Paulo. O Hospital. [acessado 2015 jul 26]. Disponível em: http://www.hospitalperola.com.br/o-hospital.php
http://www.hospitalperola.com.br/o-hospi...
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Cases with incomplete records of the variables related to time were excluded (case records were examined to understand reasons for this non-completeness). In women with more than one diagnosis of primary breast cancer, only the first case was considered.

The age of 60 was adopted as a characteristic of being elderly, in accordance with the definition used by the Brazilian Geography and Statistic Institute (IBGE)2525. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE). Indicadores Sociodemográficos e de Saúde no Brasil 2009. Sobre a condição de saúde dos idosos: indicadores selecionados. [acessado 2015 maio 16]. Disponível em: http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/estatistica/populacao/indic_sociosaude/2009/com_sobre.pdf IBGE, 2009.
http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/estatistica/...
and the National Policy for the Health of the Elderly2626. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Portaria n° 1395, de 9 de dezembro de 1999. Aprova a Política Nacional de Saúde do Idoso e dá outras providências.Diário Oficial da União 1999; 13 dez..

13 variables were analyzed, all taken from the Tumor Record File and from the RHC of the Hospital, with information on age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, prior diagnosis and treatment, primary location of the tumor, histological type of the tumor, clinical stage of the tumor at diagnosis, treatment carried out and combinations, relapse, metastasis, location of the metastasis, time between first consultation and start of treatment, time between diagnosis and start of treatment, and time between first consultation and diagnosis. Data on the variables relapse and metastasis were followed for a period of five years.

The software used for statistical treatment of the data was: (i)Microsoft Office Excel 2007 for Windows, and (ii) the IBM statistical package SPSS Statistics 20.0. Univariate descriptive analysis was carried out on the data obtained to establish the pattern of distribution of women who sought treatment for breast cancer. The results were analyzed using calculations of frequency, mean, median and standard deviation. For the association between time and the variables of the study the chi-squared test of association was used.

Two groups of women were formed based on the variable time between diagnosis and start of treatment – divided into ‘up to 60 days’ and ‘more than 60 days’. A significance level of p ≤ 0.05 was adopted.

There are no financial and/or political conflicts of interest.

Results

In the years 2001–2006, 1,318 new cases of elderly women with breast cancer were attended at the Pérola Byington Hospital. A total of 19 cases were excluded because no type of treatment was carried out after the diagnosis, thus presenting non-completion of the time variable. This resulted in a total of 1,299 women.

In Table 1 it is seen that more than 50% of the women were in the 60–69 age group. The average age of the women was 70.1 years (standard deviation 7.3 years) and the median was 69 years. The highest frequency of diagnoses was in 2006, 22% of the universe of subjects. More than 90% arrived at the service without diagnosis and without prior treatment. In 98% of the cases the primary location of the breast tumor was imprecise. As to the histological type, 78% were infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Stage II was present in 44% of the subjects, and Stage III in 28%.

The association of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy was the most used by the institution in the treatments, at 26% of the total, followed by surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy, with 22%.

Table 2 shows that in the great majority of cases (92%), there was no relapse. There was metastasis in 17% of the women, the most frequent location being isolated in the bronchial tubes and lungs (26%), followed by bones, joints and joint cartilage of the arms or legs (23%).

The average time between diagnosis and start of treatment was 74.7 days (SD = 212.6 days) and the median time was 45 days. The average time between the first consultation and diagnosis was 21 days (SD = 124.3 days). It was found that 5% of the women attended already having received the diagnosis, and that approximately 50% of the women had the date of diagnosis coinciding with the date of the first consultation. On average the elderly person waited 95.7 days (SD = 193.0 days) between the first consultation at the service and the start of treatment. The average time was 60 days.

Table 3 shows that more than 80% of the women attended had an interval of up to two months between the diagnosis and treatment, the majority waited one or two months, and approximately 36% were attended in up to one month.

Table 4 shows that the most elderly women, aged 80 or more, had a lower time between diagnosis and treatment than women of age up to 69, but this variable did not show statistical significance.

In the last period of two years studied, there was a significant improvement (p = 0.001) in the time between diagnosis and treatment, compared to the pair of years 2002–3. In 2003, the majority of the elderly women received treatment after 60 days of diagnosis, and the contrary was true in the years 2005 and 2006.

Patients in the study who arrived at the hospital without diagnosis and without treatment took less time to start treatment than those that arrived with the diagnosis (p = 0.001). Receiving the diagnosis within the service itself favored access to the treatment.

Women with tumors at Stage 0 (in situ) or Stage I began treatment faster than those with the most advanced stage (III), p = 0.001.

Table 5 shows that time was significant for the outcomes of relapse and metastasis, with p = 0.004 andp = 0.038, respectively. Of the women who received care in up to 60 days, 6% had relapsed and 16% had metastases; among those who received care in more than 60 days, 12% had relapsed and 21% had metastases.

Discussion

The average time between diagnosis and start of treatment was 74.7 days, and median time was 45 days. Arriving at the service without diagnosis and with no previous treatment, and being at an initial stage, favored access to treatment. The time interval between diagnosis and start of treatment was significant for the outcomes of relapse and metastasis.

In this study there were 19 women who did not start the treatment. Reasons given included some commonly described in their medical records such as: ‘Belief in religion and that a miracle would happen’; ‘Lack of hope for a cure when at an advanced stage’; ‘Fear of confronting the illness and being mutilated’, and, ‘Patient returned to place of origin due to inability to pay the high cost of living in São Paulo’.

A study in Campinas found that abandonment of the treatment while it is in progress is common, and that the risk of abandoning the treatment is three times higher in elderly women with breast cancer than in women under age 552727. Koseki NM. Fatores associados a não adesão ao tratamento de mulheres com câncer ginecológico ou mamário [dissertação]. Campinhas: Universidade Estadual de Campinas; 1997.. Another study showed that for hormone therapy, women below the age of 35 have a greater propensity to abandon treatment2828. Brito C, Portela MC, Vasconcellos MTL. Fatores associados à persistência à terapia hormonal em mulheres com câncer de mama. Rev Saude Publica 2014; 48(2):284-295..

There is a scarcity of work dealing only with elderly women, and some even opt to exclude them from the sample2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112.,3030. Miranda TC, Kaliks RA, Jacob Filho W, Giglio A. Câncer de mama na mulher idosa – a visão do geriatra Breast cancer in elderly women – perspective of geriatricians. Einstein. 2008; 1(6):90-92., often due to the fact that they have factors concomitant with the basic illness, which can interfere in outcomes. A work on the profile of women with breast cancer, in the State of Espírito Santo, which included elderly women, also found a higher prevalence at age 60 to 69, among a group of only elderly people2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112.. This group tended to respond well to the treatments, but after the age of 75 the prognosis was adverse for the cancer in question3131. Abreu E, Koifman S. Fatores prognósticos no câncer de mama feminina. Rev Brasileira de Cancerologia 2002; 48(1):113-131..

The number of diagnoses in 2006 was almost twice that of 2001. This phenomenon may be due, not to the increase in the existence of cases but due to the improvement in diagnosis and the guarantee of accessibility to the service. The creation of the consensus document for monitoring of breast cancer33. Instituto Nacional do Câncer. Normas e Recomendações do Ministério da Saúde Controle do câncer de mama. Controle do Câncer de Mama - Documento de Consenso. Rev Brasileira de Cancerologia 2004; 50(2):77-90., in 2004, presented recommendations ranging from prevention of risk factors to palliative care, and was important for standardization of actions.

Women would usually arrive at the Service, on referral from the Primary Healthcare Unit, without confirmation of diagnosis, and without prior treatment. This contrasts with the situation at a philanthropic hospital, in the city of Vitória, in which the majority of the women attended already had the diagnosis and prior treatment3232. Silva PF. Perfil de Mulheres com câncer de mama atendidas em Vitória-ES: Influência das variáveis sociodemográficas com o estadiamento clínico do tumor antes do tratamento [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2009..

Imprecision in the recording of the primary location of the mammary tumor was an item of concern. Since it is necessary to the diagnosis, it should be filled in on the medical record and recorded by the records of the RHC, but at some point there was a failure in this process. Since this concerns people diagnosed with cancer, and because the process of becoming ill is one of long duration, which calls for an interaction between doctor and patient, appropriate filling in of the medical record should be facilitated3333. Felix JD, Castro DS, Amorim MHC, Zandonade E. Tendência da Mortalidade por Câncer de Mama em Mulheres no Estado do Espírito Santo, no Período de 1980 a 2007. Rev. bras. cancerol. 2011; 2(57):159-166..

In developing countries recording the data is a complex task, due to the shortage of material and human resources. The risk of distortions is a fact1010. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Manual de Rotinas e Procedimentos para Registros de Câncer de Base Populacional. Rio de Janeiro, INCA, 2006. [acessado 2012 out 26]. Disponível em: http://www.inca.gov.br/vigilancia/download/manual_rotinas_procedimentos_rcbp.pdf
http://www.inca.gov.br/vigilancia/downlo...
, and completeness is often at low levels1111. Pinto IV, Ramos DN, Costa MCE, Ferreira CBT, Rebelo MS. Completude e consistência dos dados dos registros hospitalares de câncer no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro. Cad. Saúde Colet 2012; 1(20):113-120.,3333. Felix JD, Castro DS, Amorim MHC, Zandonade E. Tendência da Mortalidade por Câncer de Mama em Mulheres no Estado do Espírito Santo, no Período de 1980 a 2007. Rev. bras. cancerol. 2011; 2(57):159-166.. However, there is availability of training and updating of professionals1111. Pinto IV, Ramos DN, Costa MCE, Ferreira CBT, Rebelo MS. Completude e consistência dos dados dos registros hospitalares de câncer no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro. Cad. Saúde Colet 2012; 1(20):113-120.,3434. Kligerman J. O registro Hospitalar de Câncer no Brasil [editorial].Rev. bras. cancerol. 2001; 4(47):357-359., with a view to improvement in the quality of this recording.

As for the type of tumor, infiltrating carcinoma, or invasive ductal carcinoma, not otherwise specified (NOS), is the largest group of invasive carcinomas of the breast. It is a diagnosis of exclusion, which represents 75-80% of the invasive carcinomas3535. Oliveira CF, Silva TS. Carcinoma ductal invasivo da mama: do diagnóstico ao tratamento cirúrgico. Manual de Ginecologia – Volume II. Capítulo 37. Pag 247-288. Ed. Permanyer, 2011. [acessado 2014 ago 7]. Disponível em: http://www.fspog.com/fotos/editor2/cap_37.pdf
http://www.fspog.com/fotos/editor2/cap_3...
. These tumors offer a less favorable prognosis, when compared to the other invasive carcinomas3535. Oliveira CF, Silva TS. Carcinoma ductal invasivo da mama: do diagnóstico ao tratamento cirúrgico. Manual de Ginecologia – Volume II. Capítulo 37. Pag 247-288. Ed. Permanyer, 2011. [acessado 2014 ago 7]. Disponível em: http://www.fspog.com/fotos/editor2/cap_37.pdf
http://www.fspog.com/fotos/editor2/cap_3...
,3636. Adair F, Berg J, Joubert L, Robbins GF. Long term follow-up of breast cancer patients: the 30 years report. Cancer 1974; 33(4):1145-1150.. Normally they present necrosis, areas of infarction and a characteristic central acellular area3535. Oliveira CF, Silva TS. Carcinoma ductal invasivo da mama: do diagnóstico ao tratamento cirúrgico. Manual de Ginecologia – Volume II. Capítulo 37. Pag 247-288. Ed. Permanyer, 2011. [acessado 2014 ago 7]. Disponível em: http://www.fspog.com/fotos/editor2/cap_37.pdf
http://www.fspog.com/fotos/editor2/cap_3...
.

Other surveys indicate similar results to the above, and to the present study, with predominance of infiltrating ductal carcinoma among the histological types studied3737. Moraes AB, Zanini RR, Tuechiello MS, Riboldi J, Medeiros LR. Estudo da sobrevida de pacientes com câncer de mama atendidas no hospital da Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2006; 22(10):2219-2228.

38. Crippa CA, Hallal ALC, Dellagiustina AR, Traebert EE, Gondin G, Pereira C. Perfil Clínico e Epidemiológico do Câncer de Mama em Mulheres Jovens.Arq Catarin Med 2003; 32(3):50-58.

39. Cintra JRD, Guerra MR, Bustamante-Teixeira MT. Sobrevida específica de pacientes com câncer de mama não-metastático submetidas à quimioterapia adjuvante. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. 2008; 54(4):339-346.
-4040. Cintra JRD, Bustamante-Teixeira MT, Diniz RW, Gonçalves Júnior H, Florentino TM, Freitas GF, Oliveira, LRM, Neves MTR, Pereira T, Guerra MR.Perfil imuno-histoquímico e variáveis clinicopatológicas no câncer de mama. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2012; 58(2):178-187.. It is important to note that patients with similar ages and tumors of the same histological type do not behave uniformly, and their developments are different3838. Crippa CA, Hallal ALC, Dellagiustina AR, Traebert EE, Gondin G, Pereira C. Perfil Clínico e Epidemiológico do Câncer de Mama em Mulheres Jovens.Arq Catarin Med 2003; 32(3):50-58..

The histological type of a tumor is not a prerequisite for assessing Stage of the tumor which, when well defined, gives a correct direction to therapy, and is closely correlated with outcome4141. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (Inca). Estadiamento.[acessado 2014 ago 9]. Disponível em: http://www1.inca.gov.br/conteudo_view.asp?ID=54
http://www1.inca.gov.br/conteudo_view.as...
. If diagnosed and treated rapidly, breast cancer has a very significant cure rate2121. Huo Q, Cai C, Zhang Y, Kong X, Jiang L, Ma T, Zhang N, Yang Q. Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Symptomatic Breast Cancer in China.Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22(3):883-888.,2222. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA). Controle do Câncer de Mama. Detecção Precoce. [acessado 2014 ago 10]. Disponível em: http://www2.inca.gov.br/wps/wcm/connect/acoes_programas/site/home/nobrasil/programa_controle_cancer_mama/deteccao_precoce
http://www2.inca.gov.br/wps/wcm/connect/...
. Arrival at the health service while still in the initial phase of the illness is the great challenge for Brazil. As Silva3232. Silva PF. Perfil de Mulheres com câncer de mama atendidas em Vitória-ES: Influência das variáveis sociodemográficas com o estadiamento clínico do tumor antes do tratamento [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2009.also found, there was significant relation between illness first attended at Stages II or III and the variables ‘low level of schooling’ and ‘origin of referral: SUS’ – in the case of this study, respectively 4.3 and 1.9 times greater than chance. Cintra et al.3939. Cintra JRD, Guerra MR, Bustamante-Teixeira MT. Sobrevida específica de pacientes com câncer de mama não-metastático submetidas à quimioterapia adjuvante. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. 2008; 54(4):339-346. found a similar result when evaluating women of the city of Juiz de Fora (in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais), and concluded from this that the focus should be on monitoring and surveillance of breast cancer, as well as guarantee of treatment when diagnosed. Srur-Rivero and Cartin-Brenes4242. Srur-Rivero N, Cartin-Brenes M. Breast cancer characteristics and survival in a Hispanic population of Costa Rica. Breast Cancer (Auckl) 2014; 29(8):103-108. also found a similar distribution.

Evolution of breast cancer in elderly women seems to have a behavior similar to that of young women, however, with age, the same woman begins to have less access to monitoring programs, methods of diagnosis and more modern and complex treatments2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112..

The INCA, based on epidemiological data, proposes monitoring by clinical examination for all women over 40, independently of age group, and by mammography for women between 50 and 694343. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA). Ações de Controle.Rastreamento do Câncer de mama. [acessado 2014 ago 10]. Disponível em: http://www.inca.gov.br/situacao/arquivos/acoes_rastreamento_cancermama.pdf
http://www.inca.gov.br/situacao/arquivos...
. It is observed that there is no consensus on checking for breast cancer in women under 50 and over 70. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force4444. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force . Breast Cancer: Screening. Release Date: November 2009. [acessado 2015 maio 31]. Disponível em: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Topic/recommendation-summary/breast-cancer-screening
http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce...
recommends mammography every other year for women aged 50 to 74 – and that before age 50 it should be an individual decision, taking into account the cost-benefit of the procedure. There are no data that support its indication for women over the age of 75. For women of any age, self-examination of the breasts is not recommended, due to absence of evidence of its efficacy, and this absence also is the case for clinical examination of the breasts. According to the American Cancer Society4545. American Cancer Society. The official Sponsor of Birthdays.American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer. 29 out 2014. [acessado 2015 maio 31]. Disponível em: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/cancerscreeningguidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer
http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancer...
, clinical examination of the breasts should be carried out every three years in all women between 20 and 30, and every year in women above 40 – and after this age, there should be an annual mammography. The ACS also says that all women should know their breasts well, and clinical examination is important as from age 20. The Canadian Task Force4646. Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. Recommendations on screening for breast cancer in average-risk women aged 40–74 years. CMAJ 2011; 183(17):1991-2001. does not recommend routine tracking with mammography for women between 40 and 49. It is recommended for each two to three years in women aged 50 to 69, and 70 to 74. As also argued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, there is no confirmation of its efficacy for women above 754444. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force . Breast Cancer: Screening. Release Date: November 2009. [acessado 2015 maio 31]. Disponível em: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Topic/recommendation-summary/breast-cancer-screening
http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce...
,4646. Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. Recommendations on screening for breast cancer in average-risk women aged 40–74 years. CMAJ 2011; 183(17):1991-2001.. According to the European Guidelines, tracking by mammography should take place every two years, in the target group of women aged 50 to 694747. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Working Group on the Evaluation of Cancer Preventive Strategies. Breast Cancer Screening. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention. vol. 7. Lyon: IARC Press; 2002. [acessado 2015 maio 31]. Disponível em: http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/pdfs-online/prev/handbook7/Handbook7_Breast.pdf
http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/pdfs-...
. Authors argue that if the elderly woman has a life expectancy of more than five years, does not have any co-morbidities that are significant risks and has preserved cognition, routine tracking by mammography should be considered2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112..

Elderly women have less possibility of early diagnosis4848. Molina L, Dalben I, de Luca LA. Análise das oportunidades de diagnóstico precoce para as neoplasias malignas de mama. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2003; 49(2):185-190.. Diagnosis in the initial phases calls for less aggressive treatments, and mammography is the principal method of early detection that is within the reach of the population2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112..

The treatment of breast cancer in elderly women is harmed by innumerable mistakes, often resulting in sub-treatment, due to a belief that they are more fragile to the existing treatments, and that their co-morbidities will have a direct influence on the outcome99. Bouchardy C, Rapiti E, Fioretta G, Laissue P, Neyrold-Caspar I, Schäfer P, Kurtz J, Sappino AP, Vlastos G. Undertreatment strongly decreases prognosis of breast cancer in elderly woman. J Clin Oncol 2003; 19(21):3580-3587.,2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112.. It is observed in this present study that the majority of the elderly women were treated with all the therapeutic modalities available in the service, such as: surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. It can be seen that these subjects were evaluated for a series of variables, including age, stage of the disease, absence or presence of metastases, the power of toxicity of the medications, and their cost-benefit relationship. As to the therapeutic strategies, formulation of a single protocol for treatment is still distant, and the most coherent approach is discussion case by case in the context of a multidisciplinary team4949. Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia. Regional São Paulo.Câncer de Mama na Mulher Idosa. [acessado 2014 ago 12]. Disponível em: http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/2012/abril/MASTO-BOL-2012-(04)-ABR_14.pdf
http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/...
.

The Brazilian Society of Mastology4949. Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia. Regional São Paulo.Câncer de Mama na Mulher Idosa. [acessado 2014 ago 12]. Disponível em: http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/2012/abril/MASTO-BOL-2012-(04)-ABR_14.pdf
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argues that omission of radiotherapy, although it does not interfere in the survival time of the patient, increases the risk of occurrence of local relapse, but that the benefit of this treatment may be less for elderly women, since they are a population with low risk of this type of relapse. Some authors3131. Abreu E, Koifman S. Fatores prognósticos no câncer de mama feminina. Rev Brasileira de Cancerologia 2002; 48(1):113-131. state that the size of the tumor is directly linked to the risk of relapse, and is a predictive factor. Relapse was uncommon, presenting similar results to those found in the existing literature4040. Cintra JRD, Bustamante-Teixeira MT, Diniz RW, Gonçalves Júnior H, Florentino TM, Freitas GF, Oliveira, LRM, Neves MTR, Pereira T, Guerra MR.Perfil imuno-histoquímico e variáveis clinicopatológicas no câncer de mama. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2012; 58(2):178-187.,4242. Srur-Rivero N, Cartin-Brenes M. Breast cancer characteristics and survival in a Hispanic population of Costa Rica. Breast Cancer (Auckl) 2014; 29(8):103-108..

The principal characteristic of cancer is the capacity to metastasize. The genetics of the tumor are an important factor in metastatic disease; it is believed that the information for development of the metastases is already contained on the DNA of the tumor as from its emergence5050. Albrecht CAM, Amorim MHC, Zandonade E, Viana K, Calheiros JO. Mortalidade por câncer de mama em hospital de referência em oncologia, Vitória, ES .Rev. bras. epidemiol. 2013; 16(3):582-591..

Elderly women have a lower chance of developing metastases than younger women4949. Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia. Regional São Paulo.Câncer de Mama na Mulher Idosa. [acessado 2014 ago 12]. Disponível em: http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/2012/abril/MASTO-BOL-2012-(04)-ABR_14.pdf
http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/...
,5151. Roundeau V, Mathoulin-Pélissier S, Tanneau L, Sasco AJ, Macgrogan G, Debled M. Separate and combined analysis of successive dependent outcomes after breast-conservation surgery: recurrence, metastases, second cancer and death. BMC Cancer. 2010; 10:697.. The percentage of this event varies between the studies3737. Moraes AB, Zanini RR, Tuechiello MS, Riboldi J, Medeiros LR. Estudo da sobrevida de pacientes com câncer de mama atendidas no hospital da Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2006; 22(10):2219-2228.,3838. Crippa CA, Hallal ALC, Dellagiustina AR, Traebert EE, Gondin G, Pereira C. Perfil Clínico e Epidemiológico do Câncer de Mama em Mulheres Jovens.Arq Catarin Med 2003; 32(3):50-58.,4040. Cintra JRD, Bustamante-Teixeira MT, Diniz RW, Gonçalves Júnior H, Florentino TM, Freitas GF, Oliveira, LRM, Neves MTR, Pereira T, Guerra MR.Perfil imuno-histoquímico e variáveis clinicopatológicas no câncer de mama. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2012; 58(2):178-187., but it is clear that it is the principal cause of deaths from cancer5252. Brasileiro Filho G, Pereira FEL, Guimarães RC. Distúrbios do crescimento e da diferenciação celular. In:Brasileiro Filho G, organizador.Bogliolo Patologia. 7ª ed. Rio de Janeiro: Guanabara Koogan; 2006. p. 188-191.. As in the present study, the literature points to lungs and bones as frequent locations for occurrence of metastases3838. Crippa CA, Hallal ALC, Dellagiustina AR, Traebert EE, Gondin G, Pereira C. Perfil Clínico e Epidemiológico do Câncer de Mama em Mulheres Jovens.Arq Catarin Med 2003; 32(3):50-58.,3939. Cintra JRD, Guerra MR, Bustamante-Teixeira MT. Sobrevida específica de pacientes com câncer de mama não-metastático submetidas à quimioterapia adjuvante. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. 2008; 54(4):339-346..

Even before Law 12732 was enacted, the average time from diagnosis to start of treatment of the women studied was satisfactory – its institution, years later, showed a desire for speed and commitment in public health. Authors1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.,5353. Rezende MCR, Koch HA, Figueiredo JA, Thuler LCS. Causas do retardo na confirmação diagnóstica de lesões mamárias em mulheres atendidas em um centro de referência do Sistema Único de Saúde no Rio de Janeiro. Rev. Bras. Ginecol. Obstet. 2009; 31(2):75-78.argue that the most delayed factor is achievement of a diagnosis – the time between the first consultation and the diagnosis – which is not the case in the present study. The total time between seeking out the health service, diagnosis and start of treatment indicates a capacity for solution, and was lower than in studies carried out in other health services1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.,5353. Rezende MCR, Koch HA, Figueiredo JA, Thuler LCS. Causas do retardo na confirmação diagnóstica de lesões mamárias em mulheres atendidas em um centro de referência do Sistema Único de Saúde no Rio de Janeiro. Rev. Bras. Ginecol. Obstet. 2009; 31(2):75-78..

It is shown that older women were attended more rapidly; this result is in harmony with the study carried out in women over age 65 in the United States5454. Gorin SS, Heck JE, Cheng B, Smith SJ. Delays in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment by racial/ethnic group. Arch Intern Med2006; 166(20):2244-2252.. In the United Kingdom5555. Richards MA, Smith P, Ramirez AJ, Fentiman IS, Rubens RD. The influence on survival of delay in the presentation and treatment of symptomatic breast cancer. Br J Cancer 1999; 79(5-6):858-864., on the other hand, women above this age group showed higher intervals of time between diagnosis and start of treatment.

At two health services in Florianópolis (Brazil), arrival at the service with a diagnosis and prior treatment conferred longer survival to women, while arrival without a diagnosis and without treatment doubled the risk of death5656. Schneider IJC, D’orsi E. Sobrevida em cinco anos e fatores prognósticos em mulheres com câncer de mama em Santa Catarina, Brasil.Cad Saude Publica 2009; 6(25):1285-1296.. In the present study, receiving the diagnosis and all of the treatment in the service studied achieved longer times. Considering that the time elapsed between the diagnosis and the start of treatment is an important variable and that it influences the prognosis of the patient1212. Albrecht CAM. Análise de Sobrevida de Pacientes com Câncer de Mama Atendidas no Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia, na Cidade de Vitória, Espírito Santo [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2011., possibly, arriving at the service without a diagnosis and with no prior treatment improves the patient’s prognosis, and can mean a longer survival time.

Since breast cancer has a much better prognosis when found at early stages3737. Moraes AB, Zanini RR, Tuechiello MS, Riboldi J, Medeiros LR. Estudo da sobrevida de pacientes com câncer de mama atendidas no hospital da Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2006; 22(10):2219-2228.,3939. Cintra JRD, Guerra MR, Bustamante-Teixeira MT. Sobrevida específica de pacientes com câncer de mama não-metastático submetidas à quimioterapia adjuvante. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. 2008; 54(4):339-346.,4141. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (Inca). Estadiamento.[acessado 2014 ago 9]. Disponível em: http://www1.inca.gov.br/conteudo_view.asp?ID=54
http://www1.inca.gov.br/conteudo_view.as...
,5656. Schneider IJC, D’orsi E. Sobrevida em cinco anos e fatores prognósticos em mulheres com câncer de mama em Santa Catarina, Brasil.Cad Saude Publica 2009; 6(25):1285-1296., there has been a tendency to give priority to women with a higher chance of cure and/or survival time. The speed of the treatment in women with early stage disease and more delayed treatment in those with more advanced disease is seen in various other studies1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.,5757. Fedewa SA, Edge SB, Stewart AK, Halpern MT, Marlow NM, Ward EM. Race and Ethnicity are Associated with Delays in Breast Cancer Treatment (2003–2006). J Health Care Poor Underserved 2011; 22(1):127-140.

58. Ukwenya AY, Yusufu LM, Nmadu PT, Garba ES, Ahmed A. Delayed treatment of symptomatic breast cancer: the experience from Kaduna, Nigeria.S Afr J Surg 2008; 46(4):106-110.
-5959. Ezeome ER. Delays in presentation and treatment of breast cancer in Enugu, Nigeria. Niger J Clin Pract 2010; 13(3):311-316.. On the other hand, in a study in Espírito Santo State1212. Albrecht CAM. Análise de Sobrevida de Pacientes com Câncer de Mama Atendidas no Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia, na Cidade de Vitória, Espírito Santo [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2011., the trend was to prioritize the most serious cases, treating women with Stage III and IV more rapidly.

It is important to emphasize that the populations studied have different characteristics, since the study referred to was carried out with women of all the age groups, and the present study involved only women over age 60. This could have affected the order of priority of attendance, since younger women (as from the third decade of life) have better prognoses than elderly women3131. Abreu E, Koifman S. Fatores prognósticos no câncer de mama feminina. Rev Brasileira de Cancerologia 2002; 48(1):113-131.,4949. Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia. Regional São Paulo.Câncer de Mama na Mulher Idosa. [acessado 2014 ago 12]. Disponível em: http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/2012/abril/MASTO-BOL-2012-(04)-ABR_14.pdf
http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/...
and starting treatment more rapidly is a determining factor for increase of chances of cure/survival time4141. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (Inca). Estadiamento.[acessado 2014 ago 9]. Disponível em: http://www1.inca.gov.br/conteudo_view.asp?ID=54
http://www1.inca.gov.br/conteudo_view.as...
. Older women usually have associated co-morbidities, fragilities arising from age, less life expectancy, interfering in the choice99. Bouchardy C, Rapiti E, Fioretta G, Laissue P, Neyrold-Caspar I, Schäfer P, Kurtz J, Sappino AP, Vlastos G. Undertreatment strongly decreases prognosis of breast cancer in elderly woman. J Clin Oncol 2003; 19(21):3580-3587.,2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112.,6060. Turner NJ, Haward RA, Mulley GP, Selby PJBMJ. Cancer in old age - is it inadequately investigated and treated? BMJ 1999; 319(7205):309-312.,6161. Mottola Junior J. Câncer de Mama em Mulheres com mais de 70 anos. Centro de Referência da Saúde da Mulher e Hospital Geral V. N. IV Jornada Paulista de Mastologia 2008. Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia. Cachoeirinha Secretaria de Estado da Saúde – São Paulo.and in the speed of the treatment, often erroneously, due to unfounded beliefs4949. Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia. Regional São Paulo.Câncer de Mama na Mulher Idosa. [acessado 2014 ago 12]. Disponível em: http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/2012/abril/MASTO-BOL-2012-(04)-ABR_14.pdf
http://www.spmastologia.com.br/Boletins/...
,6060. Turner NJ, Haward RA, Mulley GP, Selby PJBMJ. Cancer in old age - is it inadequately investigated and treated? BMJ 1999; 319(7205):309-312.,6161. Mottola Junior J. Câncer de Mama em Mulheres com mais de 70 anos. Centro de Referência da Saúde da Mulher e Hospital Geral V. N. IV Jornada Paulista de Mastologia 2008. Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia. Cachoeirinha Secretaria de Estado da Saúde – São Paulo., since aging is a multi-dimensional and totally individualized process and one that does not necessarily obey a pattern of physiological decline2929. Silva LCR, Amorim WC, Castilho MS, Guimarães RC, Paixão TPMM, Pirfo, CBL. Câncer de mama em mulheres acima de 70 anos de idade: diretrizes para diagnóstico e tratamento. Rev Med Minas Gerais 2013; 23(1):105-112..

There are divergences in the literature as to the intervals between diagnosis and treatment and the consequences for patients1212. Albrecht CAM. Análise de Sobrevida de Pacientes com Câncer de Mama Atendidas no Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia, na Cidade de Vitória, Espírito Santo [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2011.,1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.,6060. Turner NJ, Haward RA, Mulley GP, Selby PJBMJ. Cancer in old age - is it inadequately investigated and treated? BMJ 1999; 319(7205):309-312.,6262. Comber H, Cronin DP, Deady S, Lorcain PO, Riordan P. Delays in treatment in the cancer services: impact on cancer stage and survival.Ir Med J 2005; 98(8):238-239.. Studies affirm that delay in the diagnosis does not harm the prognosis1212. Albrecht CAM. Análise de Sobrevida de Pacientes com Câncer de Mama Atendidas no Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia, na Cidade de Vitória, Espírito Santo [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2011.,6060. Turner NJ, Haward RA, Mulley GP, Selby PJBMJ. Cancer in old age - is it inadequately investigated and treated? BMJ 1999; 319(7205):309-312.,6262. Comber H, Cronin DP, Deady S, Lorcain PO, Riordan P. Delays in treatment in the cancer services: impact on cancer stage and survival.Ir Med J 2005; 98(8):238-239.and the survival time of the patient1212. Albrecht CAM. Análise de Sobrevida de Pacientes com Câncer de Mama Atendidas no Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia, na Cidade de Vitória, Espírito Santo [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2011.,6262. Comber H, Cronin DP, Deady S, Lorcain PO, Riordan P. Delays in treatment in the cancer services: impact on cancer stage and survival.Ir Med J 2005; 98(8):238-239.. Others, on the other hand, conclude that this interval does have a negative impact on the patient1818. Cant PJ, Yu DSL. Impact of the ‘2 week wait’ directive for suspected cancer on service provision in a symptomatic breast clinic. Br J Surg 2000; 87(8):1082-1086.

19. Ramirez AJ, Westcombe AM, Burgess CC. Factors predicting delayed presentation of symptomatic breast cancer: a systematic review.Lancet 1999; 353(9159): 1127-1131.

20. Olivotto IA, Gomi A, Bancej C, Brisson J, Tonita J, Kan L, Zeva M, Harrison M, Shumak R. Influence of delay to diagnosis on prognostic indicators of screen-detected breast carcinoma. Cancer 2002; 94(8):2143-2150.
-2121. Huo Q, Cai C, Zhang Y, Kong X, Jiang L, Ma T, Zhang N, Yang Q. Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Symptomatic Breast Cancer in China.Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22(3):883-888.. In the present study it was observed that time does affect the outcome, and that faster care offers better conditions for treatment of the disease, with more satisfactory results. Early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are important factors in reduction of mortality2121. Huo Q, Cai C, Zhang Y, Kong X, Jiang L, Ma T, Zhang N, Yang Q. Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Symptomatic Breast Cancer in China.Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22(3):883-888.,4343. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA). Ações de Controle.Rastreamento do Câncer de mama. [acessado 2014 ago 10]. Disponível em: http://www.inca.gov.br/situacao/arquivos/acoes_rastreamento_cancermama.pdf
http://www.inca.gov.br/situacao/arquivos...
. Strategies such as monitoring for early detection are of fundamental importance and underline the importance of the race against time2222. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA). Controle do Câncer de Mama. Detecção Precoce. [acessado 2014 ago 10]. Disponível em: http://www2.inca.gov.br/wps/wcm/connect/acoes_programas/site/home/nobrasil/programa_controle_cancer_mama/deteccao_precoce
http://www2.inca.gov.br/wps/wcm/connect/...
,4343. Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA). Ações de Controle.Rastreamento do Câncer de mama. [acessado 2014 ago 10]. Disponível em: http://www.inca.gov.br/situacao/arquivos/acoes_rastreamento_cancermama.pdf
http://www.inca.gov.br/situacao/arquivos...
.

Authors consider that the earlier that treatment begins for initial tumors, the greater are the chances of cure1515. Trufelli DC, Miranda VC, Santos MBB, Fraile NMP, Pecoroni PG, Gonzaga SFR, Riechelmann R, Kaliks R, Giglio A. Análise do atraso no diagnóstico e tratamento do câncer de mama em um hospital público. Rev Assoc Med Bras 2008; 54(1):72-76.. Delay in diagnosis is related to later stages of the disease6363. Richards MA, Westcombe AM, Love SB, Littlejohns P, Ramirez AJ. Influence of delay on survival in patients with breast cancer: a systematic review. Lancet 1999; 353(9159):1119-1126. and higher risks of metastasis2020. Olivotto IA, Gomi A, Bancej C, Brisson J, Tonita J, Kan L, Zeva M, Harrison M, Shumak R. Influence of delay to diagnosis on prognostic indicators of screen-detected breast carcinoma. Cancer 2002; 94(8):2143-2150.. Occurrence of metastasis and relapse is directly related to reduction of survival time and worse prognosis1212. Albrecht CAM. Análise de Sobrevida de Pacientes com Câncer de Mama Atendidas no Hospital Santa Rita de Cássia, na Cidade de Vitória, Espírito Santo [dissertação]. Vitória: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo; 2011.,2121. Huo Q, Cai C, Zhang Y, Kong X, Jiang L, Ma T, Zhang N, Yang Q. Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Symptomatic Breast Cancer in China.Ann Surg Oncol 2015; 22(3):883-888..

The non-completeness of some variables, and the imprecision of the data record, with possible loss of information due to incomplete filling in of medical records6464. Höfelmann DA, Anjos JC, Ayala AL. Sobrevida em dez anos e fatores prognósticos em mulheres com câncer de mama em Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brasil. Cien Saude Colet 2014; 19(6):1813-1824., were limitations of this study. The involvement of managers, health professionals and record keepers of the RHCs is vitally essential for achieving completeness and precision of data so as to improve the quality of the information6565. Felix JD, Zandonade E, Amorim MHC, Castro DS. Avaliação da completude das variáveis epidemiológicas do Sistema de Informação sobre Mortalidade em mulheres com óbitos por câncer de mama na Região Sudeste: Brasil (1998 a 2007). Cien Saude Colet 2012; 17(4):945-953..

Conclusion

Receiving of diagnosis, and all of the treatment, within the service that was the subject of this study, guaranteed better times. It is emphasized that the period studied preceded the ‘60-day Law’, and that even so the intervals of time found showed quality and resolvability in the service provided.

This study, carried out with secondary data, was of extreme importance for improving knowledge on the time from diagnosis to start of treatment in elderly women with breast cancer. It serves as a basis for planning of strategies in clinical and policy intervention for the provision of care to elderly women by interdisciplinary teams.

Acknowledgements

We wish to acknowledge the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and the Centro de Referência da Saúde da Mulher (Women’s Health Reference Center) at the Pérola Byington Hospital.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Dec 2015

History

  • Received
    09 Mar 2015
  • Reviewed
    16 June 2015
  • Accepted
    18 June 2015
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