And now she’s offering alternative treatment. But not everyone is on her side.
Breast cancer surgeon Dr. Laura Esserman at the University of California, San Francisco, is causing controversy over her new alternative treatment of breast cancer: Specifically, DCIS diagnosis that she feels are “over-diagnosed.” And she isn’t the only one. A recent study released via CBSNews is also backing the claim.
New research shows that chances of dying from very early breast cancer are small but the disease is riskier for young women and blacks, the same disparities seen for more advanced cancer.
Death rates in the 20 years after diagnosis totaled about 3 percent for women whose breast cancer was confined to a milk duct. The death rates were twice as high for those younger than 35 at diagnosis and in blacks – but still lower than those with more common invasive breast cancer.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast. DCIS is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. DCIS is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct to invade other parts of the breast (source). Dr. Esserman, sharing the study’s sentiment, applies a type of treatment which is known as “active surveillance.” The idea is to avoid surgery, lumpectomy or mastectomy, in the early stages and merely monitor the findings. Breast cancer diagnosis are now very trigger happy when it comes to treatment and in many cases, the treatments, which are often harsh for the patient, aren’t needed. Dr. Esserman is allowing women to avoid those harsh treatments. She’s attempting to reduce the amount of treatments down to those that would seem to be more necessary than others, sparing women their bodies and portions of their lives.
image credit: cbsnews.com/news/the-debate-over-early-breast-cancer-treatment/