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We might be treating one of the most common cancers in completely the wrong way

Every year, up to 60,000 US women receive what's known as a Stage 0 breast cancer diagnosis, generally regarded as noninvasive cancer in its earliest stages, or even a precancer.

After the discovery of this condition — ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) — the vast majority of women undergo a surgical procedure: either a lumpectomy, a lump removed from their breast, or a mastectomy or double mastectomy, removing one or both breasts.

A major new study published August 20 in JAMA Oncology calls the effectiveness and necessity of those treatment strategies into question, finding that for the majority of patients, these aggressive treatments don't prevent women from dying of breast cancer.

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