Should we screen for stage 0 Breast Cancer?
There are several cases of women dying of cancer each year. Maximum cases of cancer in women are of breast cancer. The high alert and extra precaution in case of breast cancer is thus understandable. However, the medical science has progressed greatly over the years. Today we are able to predict the probability of breast cancer well in advance. Many people start their treatment for breast cancer way too early. Read to know if it is ideal to screen for stage 0 breast cancer.
1 What is Stage 0 Breast Cancer?
Stage 0 Breast cancer is also commonly referred to as the ductal carcinoma in the situ. In this phase of breast cancer, there is abnormal growth of cells in the breast milk duct lining. It is still in the initial phase and the abnormal cancer cells have not yet spread to other parts of the body yet.
2 Is Prevention Really Better Than Cure In Case of Breast Cancer?
In most cases of cancer, the irregular cell growth causes the cancer to spread to different vital organs and thus leads to death. Early detection can help to eliminate these irregular cells and thus prevent its growth. This was the reasoning that led to doctors believing that early detection of breast cancer can prevent an eventuality.
However, the different cases of breast cancer have been greatly different. In some cases, the cancer grows extremely slowly and the same philosophy of early screening and cure may not apply in these cases. The percentage of death of women due to breast cancer has remained consistent on 3% for the past few years. Early screening and treatment have not helped much in such cases.
3 What is the Level of Individual Risk?
It is advisable to gauge the level of individual risk before heading for treatment for stage 0 breast cancer. As each case of breast cancer maybe unique, the treatment may have to be customised to suit each individual requirement. Chemotherapy and other severe medication may be inevitable only in fast paced cancer growth. Doctors need to evaluate these factors before prescribing the proper treatment.
4 Doctors’ Opinions On This Issue!
Doctors are the ones who prescribe medication, surgery or intense therapy as soon as stage 0 breast cancer is detected in a woman. This could actually be over diagnosis or prescription of a therapy when it is too early. A few doctors opine what they feel regarding this viewpoint.
University Hospital Birmingham’s breast surgeon Dr Adele Francis opines that the issue should be addressed through well run clinical trials. She adds there is really no point arguing about the screening and wasting valuable time.
American Cancer Society’s Dr Otis Brawley believes that any case of breast cancer is the failure of the patient to get mammogram or the failure of the doctor to detect it.
University of Michigan’s Dr Steven J Katz evaluates patient and physician decision making. He feels that most patients feel healthier when they are diagnosed.
Breast surgeon Golshon believes that it is not his job to decide whether the patient should take the treatment at an early stage or not. He further adds that many doctors fail to warn the patients of the possible negative impacts and this is not acceptable.
5 When is treatment Inevitable?
As detecting the breast cancer cases early does not always seem to help in the same manner, it is essential to identify the cases where treatment of the advanced stage is inevitable. Identifying this can help to prevent women from facing the adverse effects of treatments when it is not required.
This can actually be achieved by proper surveillance and educating women on the consequences of the different options. Treatment is inevitable in advance cases when the cancer seems to have spread beyond the duct lining and may risk the vital organs in the course of time.
There are many studies being carried out to find out the severity of cancers and the effectiveness of each treatment. In future, the study may reveal the right approach to be followed and prevent the negative impact of over diagnosis that many women are facing today.