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Watchful Waiting an Option for More Breast Cancer Patients

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.

Nearly 60,000 women a year are told they have DCIS, a non-invasive form of breast cancer. Some patients are opting to watch and wait.

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'," Mann says.

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

Surgeon Laura Esserman, the director of the Breast Care Center at UCSF 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," Dr. Esserman says.

Ozarks First

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