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So Much Care It Hurts: Unneeded Scans, Therapy, Surgery Only Add To Patients' Ills

By Kaiser Health News  
   October 23, 2017

Despite added cost an inconvenience, the longer of two treatment options is given to more than half of eligible breast cancer patients, highlighting concerns of possible overtreatment.

This article first appeared October 23, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

By Liz Szabo

After Kathi Kolb was diagnosed with breast cancer, her doctor recommended seven weeks of daily radiation treatments. She persuaded him to shorten treatment to three weeks, based on clinical trials showing that the condensed course works just as well. (Katye Martens Brier for KHN)

When Annie Dennison was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she readily followed advice from her medical team, agreeing to harsh treatments in the hope of curing her disease.

“You’re terrified out of your mind” after a diagnosis of cancer, said Dennison, 55, a retired psychologist from Orange County, Calif.

In addition to lumpectomy surgery, chemotherapy and other medications, Dennison underwent six weeks of daily radiation treatments. She agreed to the lengthy radiation regimen, she said, because she had no idea there was another option.


Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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