Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Screening tied to Overdiagnosis and Unnecessary Treatment

Breast cancer screening tied to Overdiagnosis | Stronger Than Cancer

I don't oppose cancer screenings, but we need better information about what to do with that information.

Right now, the word 'cancer' invokes too much fear, so if it is caught at any stage, even quite early or benign, the path is usually treat it aggressively so there is no chance that it will come back.

We are finding that this isn't the best approach.  Some cancers have been seen to go away on their own.  Others would never become malignant.

If treating cancer was non-toxic, this wouldn't be a problem, but the side effects of treatment lead to other issues, like heart disease and increase risk of leukemia etc.  The decision to treat cancer can't be taken lightly.

In cancers that are discovered early, the patient needs better guidance about the best approach for her health.  Wait and watch is not standard for breast cancer, but with better diagnostics, maybe it's an option we should explore.

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