Breast cancer’s latest saga: misfearing and misplaced goalposts

A new Canadian study adds to the amassing research suggesting that most of what mammography has done is turn healthy people into sick, but grateful cancer survivors. It’s time to change our goals. We should be aiming to save lives, not create as many cancer patients as we possibly can.

Read more about my take on the latest mammography study at Last Word On Nothing and Slate.

Is DCIS cancer?

A generation ago, an oncologist might have gone years without encountering a case of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a precancerous breast lesion. But widespread mammography has led to a sevenfold increase in the number of new cases of DCIS. This steep rise has some experts worried, as screening’s ability to find these precancerous lesions has outstripped knowledge about how to classify DCIS and how to treat it. At a recent state-of-the-science conference, scientists debated whether the word “carcinoma” should be removed from the name,  in hopes of reducing fear and stemming a trend of overtreatment of this noninvasive pre-cancer.

Read more about DCIS and the debate about what to call it and how to treat it in my Proto Magazine feature, No Easy Answers, is published in the Winter 2014 issue of Proto Magazine.