Will Breast Tumors Go Away Without Treatment

A new article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine asks a very controversial question. Do breast cancer tumors go away on their own? In order to try to prove or disprove this theory researchers performed a study. The article shows that at least one type of cancer that was discovered through screening sometimes will disappear. Neoroblastoma is a very rare childhood tumor.

During the study Norwegian and American researchers compared the amount of breast cancers that were found in over 100,000 Norwegian women who were being screened every two years. These women also received only one mammogram after six years. Women who have cancer and are screened an a more frequent basis have a better chance of being diagnosed early.

But the authors stated that both of their strategies should show the same number of cancers. However, doctors found 22% more breast cancers in women who received more frequent mammograms.

This increases the possibility that these mammograms discovered cancers that over time went away and did not need any treatment, says co-author H. Gilbert Welch of the VA Outcomes Group in White River Junction, Vt. Other experts have argued over the findings of this study and believe that mammograms have been proven to save many lives. The American Cancer Society urges women to receive annual screenings after they have turned 40.

Robert Smith from the cancer society believes that there are several reasons why women who are screened more often have a higher chance of being diagnosed with cancer. A single scan can miss small tumors – but many doctors have an easier time of finding cancers on repeat mammograms when they have the ability to compare the new results with older images. “It’s important that people not wonder if women lost their breasts for no reason,” Smith says. “That’s reprehensible conjecture.”

November 24th, 2008 • tonks • Cancer, Conditions and Diseases, News and Opinion Comments Off

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