Do Breast Tumors go Away on Their Own?

Posted on December 4, 2008  Comments (0)

Do Breast Tumors go Away on Their Own?

Authors of a new study hope to begin a debate challenging the conventional wisdom about early detection of breast cancer. In an article in today’s Archives of Internal Medicine, they ask: Do breast tumors ever go away on their own?

Researchers of this controversial article note that one type of cancer found through screening — a rare childhood tumor, called neuroblastoma — sometimes disappears. In the new article, researchers try to learn if the same phenomenon occurs with invasive breast cancers found with mammograms

The Natural History of Invasive Breast Cancers Detected by Screening Mammography

Conclusions: Because the cumulative incidence among controls never reached that of the screened group, it appears that some breast cancers detected by repeated mammographic screening would not persist to be detectable by a single mammogram at the end of 6 years. This raises the possibility that the natural course of some screen-detected invasive breast cancers is to spontaneously regress.

As with so much medical research the results are not completely clear. Studies need to be followed by more studies, which often lead to more studies. As long as progress is being made this is a perfectly reasonable course of scientific inquiry. And even if progress is not being made this can be perfectly reasonable – finding answers can be hard.

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