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How concerned are you with overtreatment?


In the Summer issue, CURE explores overtreatment in "Too Much of a Good Thing"- looking at whether we, as a society, overtreat certain cancers. Certainly there are those cancers where watch and wait is recommended, but that treatment option doesn't sit well with many people, especially considering the fear and anxiety one feels after the words "You have cancer." When we asked our Facebook fans whether they were concerned with overtreatment, the answers were mixed. Here are a few of those comments:CURE: Are you concerned your cancer is/was overtreated? For some cancers, research is finding we may be treating some cancers too aggressively. CURE will be exploring this topic and wants to know your opinion. Were you concerned with the possibility of overtreatment? Did you discuss it with your doctor? What advice would you have for others who are struggling over concerns of possible overtreatment?Joanne: Four year breast cancer survivor. Unable to "neatly" stage, but treated as locally advanced. Bilateral mastectomies, chemo, radiation, hormone therapy. I, too, would rather be overtreated than undertreated--I've seen what can happen when surgery is said to be enough. However, I also believe doctors should be more forthcoming with information on possible late-term effects of treatment. It probably wouldn't have changed my treatments, but would have allowed more informed decisions.Sari: I was stage II Hodgkin's in 2001. I had 6 cycles of chemo and 18 rads. I would rather deal with treatment only once! Long term effects of rads makes me nervous. If I had to do it over I would take a few more cycles of chemo and no rads. Chemo was terrible but I feel like the long term effects aren't quite as destructive as rads. I asked my onc. to give me everything he could as I had 3 young children to raise. Grateful for his efforts! Grateful to be in remission since 2002 (God is good)Luz: yes this is a concern. chemo for stage one breast cancer? I really don't know if that was the right decision or not. I wish I had advice to give. One thing I know for sure: more research is needed!Becky: After chest radiation for lung cancer, I worry about my heart. I'm eight years cancer-free, and extremely happy about that, but now that I've survived, wonder what I have done to my body to reach this point of survivorship. I did not discus...s this with my doctor, I was throwing everything I could at the cancer, even a drug trial. The drug has been pulled from the market, but I would so like to know what the adverse long-term effects are of other guinea pigs, so to speak. I think people new to the world of cancer should understand that there is a possibility of overtreatment and that throwing a hand grenade when pruning shears were all that were necessary is harmful, as well.Carla: I'd rather deal with being over treated than deal with regrets. I am a 5 year breast cancer survivor...stage 1, bilateral masectomy, radiation, and chemo.What do you think? Are you concerned with overtreatment of cancer? Take our reader poll and leave a comment.

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