Demanding a Better Biopsy
Close to 1 million breast biopsies will be performed on women in the coming year. The vast majority of these will be done under a surgeons knife, often with general anesthesia and leaving a scar which can disfigure the breast.
Even more importantly, the resulting tissue damage can affect the accuracy of future mammogram readings. One recent study found that surgical biopsy influenced the confidence level in reading mammograms in more than 72 percent of the cases.
"The sad fact is that more than 90 percent of breast biopsies could
be done without resorting to surgery," says Dr. William Dooley, a
surgeon with the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. "Using available technology,
women can now have more accurate biopsies, in far less time, at much lower
cost, and with little or no adverse implications for follow-up care."
Children of cancer patients represent a hidden, high risk group whose problems are often minimized by overwhelmed parents and too often ignored by the medical staff who seldom see them.
A recent editorial in the British Journal of Medicine highlighted the difficulties doctors have in communicating the news of a cancer diagnosis to their patients. How much harder must it be for parents with newly diagnosed cancer to tell their children about it while coming to terms with the implications themselves?
Cancer in a parent is an issue that confronts many families. For example,
breast cancer affects one in 12 women in Britain and 1 in 8 women in the
United States, 30% of whom are likely to be diagnosed while they have
children still living at home.
Complementary ApproachesThe Three "Cís" To Cope With Cancer
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