A cancer diagnosis is devastating for any patient. Most times, in terms of treatment, patients want to do whatever is possible. A scorched earth approach is a common request to health care providers, with patients wanting to make sure that every possible treatment option is considered. It's understandable, cancer can be life or death. A new movement in treatment however is the opposite of that. Some providers are moving away from what they consider "over treating" cancer and towards less invasive options.
In this report, Dr. Esserman, a surgeon at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center discusses the "less is more" philosophy of treating breast cancer. While early detection is touted as crucial, some cancers are dealt with by the body's own immune system, so finding one early and treating could result in a cascade of complications from treatment. Dr. Esserman believes that treating a low risk case of cancer that might normally have been fine left alone, has no effect on the outcome and in fact could cause more trouble as side effects and complications from surgery become a new problem after the cancer is eradicated.