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Controversial Approach Calls For Delaying Treatment For Some Forms Of Breast Cancer

(CBS) — You get a diagnosis of breast cancer, your first feeling is fear and wanting to get treatment over with. But now, some doctors are saying maybe not. As Roseanne Tellez reports, there’s a new approach called watchful waiting.

After a routine mammogram three years ago, 52-year-old Barbara Mann was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, the earliest form of breast cancer.

“The initial reaction was, ‘Get this out of my system,’” she said.

DCIS accounts for up to 25 percent of breast cancers. Mastectomies or lumpectomies have become the standard treatments

Surgeon Laura Esserman of the University of California, San Francisco, is considered a pioneer of the “active surveillance” or “watchful waiting” treatment for breast cancer. She monitors patients with low-grade DCIS with screenings and medication for six months without surgery.

“Part of the personalization of medicine and breast cancer is not just to do more for those who need it but to do less for those that don’t,” said Esserman

CBS Chicago

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