New research shows early breast cancer treatments may be ineffective 15



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They’re the words no woman wants to hear – “early stage of breast cancer” – and of course, we want to do something about it straight away. But new research suggests that diving in with treatment for Stage 0 breast cancer may not make you any less likely to fall victim to the disease.

“Stage 0″ breast cancer refers to”pre-invasive” breast cancer such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), according to Cancer Australia. These are considered possible precursors to what could turn into a deadly tumour.

The Canadian study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, found that women who undergo single or double mastectomies, lumpectomy or radiation therapy as treatment for DCIS are probably not increasing their chances of survival.

Women in whom DCIS were detected had close to the same likelihood of dying of breast cancer as women in the general population, and the few who died did so despite treatment, not for lack of it, the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto study argues.

Researchers studied more that 100,000 women diagnosed with DCIS over 20 years and found 97 per cent of them did not die from breast cancer after undergoing treatment. The 3 per cent of women who did pass away from cancer over the 20 years did so because the DCIS had spread through their bodies before the lump in their breasts was removed.

According to USA Today, there is division in the medical community over whether DCIS should be classified as cancer. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said a third of doctors believe DCIS is not cancer, a third believe it’s pre-cancer and another third believe it’s cancer.

The research will help doctors determine the best treatment options for patients. It may be the case that aggressive treatment, such as lumpectomies, lumpectomies with radiology and mastectomies, is often not necessary, and that a “wait and watch” approach more suitable.

Steven Narod, the lead author of the study says the goal of the research is to get to the point where doctors can tell whether a woman with DCIS needs aggressive, hormonal or observational therapy to reduce her risk.

Have you ever had a lumpectomy or other treatment for the early stages of breast cancer? Share your experience below. 


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  1. I had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radium 16 years ago and even though it was not pleasant a lot of the time would don’t again rather than take and chances.

  2. I had a mastectomy over 10 years ago for a ductal carcinoma the only symptom was a line of 5 dots of calcium in the duct as i had a routine screening mammogram and had the mastectomy as it was what my doctor recommended. I wouldn’t change that for the world as I am still alive and going strong.

  3. I heard a UK doctor saying she did not recommend mammograms as they throw out too many false positives and result in unnecessary surgery and treatments. She was 65 herself and had never had a mammogram.

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  4. I had a lumpectomy 3 yrs ago and instead of having chemo and radiation agreed to take part in a treatment trial taking only a tablet each day. Still going good.

  5. I had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy only to have the cancer return in the same area two years later resulting in a mastectomy. Five years later cancer appeared in the other breast and mastectomy followed by five years of drugs was recommended. I’m still here after twentyfive years so I guess they were the right decisions.

  6. I had a lumpectomy plus 7 weeks radiation 25 years ago & even though it was not pleasant at times & have issues with scar tissue from radiation I would do it all again rather than take any chances.It is important to be guided by your oncologist !! Better treatments are coming along every year but early detection is paramount!!

  7. my treatments were over 7 years ago, would be better if doctors could agree. most women are almost in shock when told it’s cancer. they just go along with what they’re told they need to do to save their life.. I felt like as if I was ‘snowballed ‘ along

  8. My grandmother died of cancer. My aunty was 14 days old when my grand mother died. My aunty had her breast removed late 50s early 60s. 20 years later had other breast removed. She died at 84. Her daughter got breast cancer and sadly passed away last year. She was 68. I am no scientist but feel it is more genetics.

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    • My gran died at 67 and my mother died at 52 from breast cancer. I have had mammograms since I was 29 for the last 32 years. So far so good.

  9. Girls get the mammograms, and if you are not too worried about how you will look and the doctor is reccommending a mastectomy do it. Al boob isn’t worth dying for and the prosthesis’ do the job of filling out the empty cup. I wish the doc has removed both of mine and then I wouldn’t need to worry about the left breast. I have 2 cousins who had a new cancer of the remaining breast years apart and 1 of them died as a result at a young age.

  10. I have stage 3 breast cancer. I had all my chemo and it nearly killed me. Now I’m undergoing radio therapy, week 3 just finished. Have 4 weeks to go. If it came back I wouldn’t have chemo again. I don’t know what would happen but I couldn’t go through that again.

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