Over Diagnosing for Breast Cancer? Report Suggests Some Treatments Were Not Needed
Posted Apr 02 2012 11:30pm
This is one that I know about through my mother as we had this happen. It turned out she did not have breast cancer and a “mass” was found. I’ll make this brief but she was over-diagnosed when the x-ray was blown up to further investigate. That lead to a biopsy which was also messed up and if she would have gone for treatment for this tiny miniscule mass they found with radiation, she may not be here today at age 87 and this was about 3 years ago when all this occurred.
Upon consulting with a veteran surgeon who went over everything in detail he said yes she has a mass but it was not cancer and he has done a ton of surgeries for breast cancers so he was experienced.
He gave her the choice though of having it removed or not and when we discussed it we decided against it and keep in mind too this was at a time when propofol was hard to get all the time and he informed her he would need a “special anesthesiologist” to work with another drug and keep her “under” time down to an absolute minimum as even he knew after seeing her chart that her health was a bit on the fragile side with a long history of blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes.
After all was said and done the insurance company went back to investigate the original oncologist and radiologist.
The radiologist had called my mother about her experience with the oncologist as well and about the office since they were new partners. The radiologist left and went elsewhere and the insurance company ended up fining the oncologist who seemed to be more interested in making my mother a case study than treating her cancer. This is not representative of most doctors thank goodness and the pressure to sign up after the consult from the messed up biopsy was horrendous. She could not get out the door without making her appointment for the treatment with the brand new Mammosite machine they had just purchased.
She made the appointment, went home and then cancelled the next day and the girl in the office was scared half to death over her job as she was evaluated on her patients relations and bookings for treatments for productivity. So much for pay for performance at this level I said.
So in summary screenings are still good in my opinion; however involving the patient here as we were with my mother lead to a very different outcome and results from the moment that she was told she had cancer. Of course she signed all the releases for the doctors stating that she was declining radiation treatment. After our experience with weighing everything and especially after the consult with the surgeon we felt we made the right decision.
Again this was a very tiny spot and the following year her mammogram was clear! But wait, 2 years later next mammogram and they again find a tiny spot and again blew it up to investigate and again I’m not picking apart the procedure or doctors at all, but, it was good to have case history and see almost the exact same thing as what set off whistles and bells 3 years prior and again we stopped there once more and opted out for surgery. She’s still here today and again I can’t emphasize enough that each case is its own and we were and are lucky but I also understand that this is just her case and everyone needs to get all the information they can and make their own decisions. BD
(Reuters Health) - A new report suggests that when a breast cancer screening program was rolled out in Norway, up to 10 women were diagnosed and treated for cancer unnecessarily for every breast cancer death that was prevented.
That’s because when doctors screen for cancer in women who don’t have symptoms, it’s impossible for them to tell whether a tumor picked up by mammography will grow quickly into advanced cancer or will only progress slowly or not at all, said lead author Dr. Mette Kalager.
You have to really consider the benefit and the harm against each other, and really think through: what is my risk of dying from breast cancer, and what is my risk of being overdiagnosed?" she said.