(NaturalHealth365) Despite the emotional and physical toll it takes on women, doctors continue to advocate for extreme treatments – including double mastectomies – when mammography results show certain abnormal breast cells. Yet, research shows such measures are unnecessary for patient survival.
As many as 60,000 women across the country are diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer each year. Most will rely on their physicians’ recommendations to have a lumpectomy, mastectomy or even double mastectomy, despite lack of evidence that such procedures are needed.
Brutal behavior: Should we really be doing this to women?
Known as ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S., the Stage O breast cancer condition equates to the finding of abnormal cells, confined to the milk ducts of the breast. Diagnosed cases of D.C.I.S. have soared in recent years due to advanced mammography, which is now able to detect even the smallest of lesions.
Before mammography became available around 1980, the number of women diagnosed with D.C.I.S. each year tallied only in the hundreds. If deadly breast cancers actually started out as D.C.I.S., then the incidence of these aggressive breast cancers should have declined immensely as D.C.I.S. detection rose. But that simply hasn’t been the case.
Instead, evidence shows that patients with this condition have no greater likelihood of dying of breast cancer than women in the general population.
Despite this, breast cancer surgeons have aggressively treated women with D.C.I.S., much as they would patients showing advanced stages of breast cancer, even advocating double mastectomies with removal of a healthy breast in some cases.
Studies suggest: We are making a big mistake
Recently published research results suggest these treatments are totally unnecessary. Researchers from Ontario, Toronto, Canada, recently published findings of a study involving about 100,000 women diagnosed with D.C.I.S. who were tracked for 20 years.
Their results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology. In the study, women undergoing severe surgical procedures – whether lumpectomies or mastectomies – continued to have the same likelihood of developing breast cancer as the general population of women.
The few women in the study who did die, according to researchers, did so despite treatment, not because treatment was lacking.
Their findings strongly suggest that thousands of patients are undergoing costly, dangerous and sometimes disfiguring treatments without any benefit. The premalignant conditions they are diagnosed with are unlikely to ever develop into life-threatening cancers.
Conventionally-trained surgeons continue to ignore the facts
Despite such evidence, some doctors, including the chief breast cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, have gone on record to state they do not see a reason to halt their aggressive approaches.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, stated he had no plans to abandon aggressive treatments, believing additional trials are necessary.
However, at the same time, Dr. Brawley said he had no doubt treatment had been overly aggressive, chalking it up to over-zealous medical providers. Yet, the doctor made no apologies for the impact such misplaced enthusiasm has had on thousands of women’s lives.
As long as breast cancer surgeons continue to push for invasive treatments despite evidence that it does no good, such treatment for D.C.I.S. will only add to the list of costly, invasive healthcare procedures medical facilities are performing routinely without valid reason.
Don’t let fear control your behavior – especially with healthcare decisions
In this case, some patients are falling victim to disfigurement that will impact them the rest of their lives. Research has shown that women undergoing severe treatments typically do so out of fear without realizing the short and long-term implications.
Yet in addition to complications from the surgery itself, research has shown that women who get cancer treatment are less likely to stay employed and those that do, earn less than before. And, finally, these medical procedures take a toll on relationships and bring about unnecessary emotional stress.
Cancer & Heart Disease
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