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Is breast cancer being over diagnosed?

A recent study in the medical journal, Jama Oncology, is adding fuel to the argument that breast cancer is being over-diagnosed and over-treated.

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

"The initial reaction was, get this out of my system," said Mann.

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

Surgeon Laura Esserman, UCSF Breast Care Center director, 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.

If DCIS shows little or no growth, patients can avoid more aggressive treatment which has worked so far for Barbara.

WCAX – Burlington, VT

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