Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment of Breast Cancer.
American Society of Clinical Oncology educational book / ASCO. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Meeting 01/2012; 32:e40-e45. DOI: 10.14694/EdBook_AM.2012.32.e40
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Through greater awareness, mammographic screening, and aggressive biopsy of calcifications, the proportion of low-grade, early stage cancers and in situ lesions among all breast cancers has risen substantially. The introduction of molecular testing has increased the recognition of lower risk subtypes, and less aggressive treatments are more commonly recommended for these subtypes. Mammographically detected breast cancers are much more likely to have low-risk biology than symptomatic tumors found between screenings (interval cancers) or that present as clinical masses. Recognizing the lower risk associated with these lesions and the ability to confirm the risk with molecular tests should safely enable the use of less aggressive treatments. Importantly, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) lesions, or what have been called stage I cancers, in and of themselves are not life-threatening. In situ lesions have been treated in a manner similar to that of invasive cancer, but there is little evidence to support that this practice has improved mortality. It is also being recognized that DCIS lesions are heterogeneous, and a substantial proportion of them may in fact be precursors of more indolent invasive cancers. Increasing evidence suggests that these lesions are being overtreated. The introduction of molecular tests should be able to help usher in a change in approach to these lesions. Reclassifying these lesions as part of the spectrum of high-risk lesions enables the use of a prevention approach. Learning from the experience with active surveillance in prostate cancer should empower the introduction of new approaches, with a focus on preventing invasive cancer, especially given that there are effective, United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved breast cancer preventive interventions.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: OPINION STATEMENT: Breast cancer is a complex, heterogeneous disease. Approximately 230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year and approximately 40,000 women die each year with breast cancer. Although prevention of the disease would be preferred, no real prospects are available in the near future that would be applicable to the majority of women who are at risk for breast cancer. Early detection remains an effective way to decrease mortality from breast cancer, treating it at an early stage when it is likely curable. Unfortunately, screening does have its limitations. Not all breast cancers can be identified with routine screening. Some breast cancers despite early detection still result in poor outcomes. Furthermore, false-positive results are not infrequently seen in women undergoing screening mammography. Most patients experience significant anxiety when called back for additional studies or a biopsy. Not to mention the additional cost and potential side effects and complications of invasive procedures. In addition, there are breast cancers that may be indolent and otherwise not a threat to patients. In fact, some studies show that up to one quarter of cancers detected by screening may represent overdiagnosis. Currently, however, there are no proven methods to discern with complete certainty the cancers that would progress to lethal disease from those that would not. Women should be counseled regarding the risks and benefits of screening. Women at average risk should initiate screening mammography annually at the age of 40 years. Women at significant increased risk for breast cancer should be screened earlier. MRI has been shown to increase detection of breast cancer in women at increased risk and should be used as an adjunct to mammography in this high-risk patient population.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Nearly 20% of all breast cancer cases are ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), with over 60,000 cases diagnosed each year. Many of these cases would never cause clinical symptoms or threaten the life of the woman; however, it is currently impossible to distinguish which lesions will progress to invasive disease from those that will not. DCIS is generally associated with an excellent prognosis regardless of the treatment pathway, but there is variation in treatment aggressiveness that seems to exceed the medical uncertainty associated with DCIS management. Therefore, it would seem that a significant proportion of women with DCIS receive more extensive treatment than is needed. This overtreatment of DCIS is a growing concern among the breast cancer community and has implications for both the patient (via adverse treatment-related effects, as well as out-of-pocket costs) and society (via economic costs and the public health and environmental harm resulting from health care delivery). This article discusses DCIS treatment pathways and their implications for patients and society and calls for further research to examine the factors that are leading to such wide variation in treatment decisions.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide. However, among the top 4 deadliest cancers, lung cancer is the only one not subject to routine screening. Optimism for an effective lung cancer-screening examination soared after the release of the National Lung Screening Trial results in November 2011. Since then, nearly 40 major medical societies and organizations have endorsed low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening. In December 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force also endorsed LDCT. However, the momentum for LDCT screening slowed in April 2014 when the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) panel concluded that there was not enough evidence to justify the annual use of LDCT scans for the detection of early lung cancer. This article briefly reviews the epidemiology of lung cancer, the National Lung Screening Trial study results, and the growing national endorsement of LDCT from a variety of key stakeholder organizations. We subsequently analyze and offer our evidence-based counterpoints to the major assumptions underlying the MEDCAC decision.
Data provided are for informational purposes only. Although carefully collected, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The impact factor represents a rough estimation of the journal's impact factor and does not reflect the actual current impact factor. Publisher conditions are provided by RoMEO. Differing provisions from the publisher's actual policy or licence agreement may be applicable.