‘Watch And Wait’ Is Tough For Cancer Patients But More Are Opting For Treatment Option, Study Finds
With the harsh side effects of cancer medicines, and a growing concern over overtreatment, a strategy of “watchful waiting" — which includes regular blood tests, scans and doctor visits — can be the right approach to some cases.
The Washington Post:
Watching But Not Treating Cancer Can Be Hard. Sometimes It’s The Right Approach.
However, there is a good argument to be made for taking the watch-and-wait approach (sometimes called “active surveillance”) over treatments that too often have terrible side effects. A study published in JAMA last week found that 72 percent of men younger than 65 with prostate cancer chose surveillance over surgery or radiation; a decade prior, the numbers were reversed: Only 27 percent chose monitoring. As the study numbers suggest, many physicians are counseling men with low-risk prostate cancer to choose active surveillance over surgery and radiation; not only is this approach less invasive, it can help men avoid the incontinence and impotence often associated with more aggressive treatment — and do so without impacting survival rates. (Petrow, 5/20)
In other cancer news —
The Star Tribune:
As More Cancer Patients Survive, Workplace Protections Fall Short
As cancer survival rates improve with advances in detection and treatment, advocates say workplace laws have not kept pace with the needs of patients and the demands of medical care. Surgery can leave patients with short-term disabilities, while chemotherapy and radiation can produce side effects such as “chemo-brain,” a difficulty with concentration. ...It’s unclear how many cancer patients lose employment because they’re not ready to return to work. But studies show that just 40 percent are back at work within six months. After a year, it’s still just 62 percent. Researchers have also found that loss of income due to illness is a major contributor to bankruptcy — and that cancer patients are more likely to declare bankruptcy. (Howatt, 5/20)
High-Risk Smokers Aren’t Getting Tested For Lung Cancer, Study Suggest
Researchers from the American College of Radiology’s Lung Cancer Screening Registry recently conducted a study to determine how many high-risk smokers get free annual lung cancer screenings. ...After analyzing the results, they found that 7.6 million Americans met the criteria for testing in 2016. However, only 141,260 tests were performed− that’s just under 2 percent. (Parker, 5/18)