JUL 13, 2017 6:16 AM PDT

To Treat or Watch and Wait: That is the Question


Detecting any cancer as early as possible is always a plus in determining treatment. Outcomes are usually better when treatment can start immediately. Breast cancer, especially more aggressive forms, respond better when detected early. There is such a thing as Stage 0 breast cancer, but the debate on whether to begin treating patients who are found to have Stage 0 ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or watch and wait. While it might seem a no-brainer that cancer should be treated as soon as it's found, the treatment, involving surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy carries potentially more dangerous risks than the disease might at Stage 0

At Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, researchers have begun a clinical trial to investigate the options of watchful waiting versus treatment. The trend is shifting away from surgical and other treatments towards more conservative options but the study, called COMET (Comparison of Operative to Monitoring and Endocrine Therapy), will hopefully make the risks and benefits of the decision more clear. Very often patients are overwhelmed with a diagnosis and even experts disagree on what the best course could be. DCIS accounts for about 1 in 5 cases of breast cancer
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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