Doctors debate cancer screening

April 23, 2010 at 9:53 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

SAN FRANCISCO, April 23 (UPI) -- U.S. doctors are divided on whether some cancers are over-diagnosed and should be treated as slow-growing rather than being quickly eliminated.

Doctors who favor reduced screening for cancers say some low-risk cancers are treated too aggressively and needlessly harm patients with chemotherapy and other treatments.

"I would hope in the future that we would be able to tailor our screening strategies as we have our treatment strategies," said Dr. Laura Esserman, director of the University of California San Francisco Breast Care Center.

While it's true some cancers may disappear on their own, cancer screenings should not be reduced before doctors determine how to distinguish harmless tumors from harmful tumors, said Dr. Bruce Chabner, a director of Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.

"Cancer is cancer until proven otherwise, and unfortunately we have no way of making accurate predictions in individual cases at this point in time," Chabner told ABC in a story published Friday.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories