O'Connor, O'Connor, Bresee & First, P.C.
877-886-4029 Toll Free
518-465-0400 New York

If it's cancer, we must operate - or not, according to study

A diagnosis of cancer is never easy. It is a scary word for a patient to hear, and it is a complicated diagnosis for a doctor to explain. Cancers differ depending on a number of factors, including how early the cancer is detected and where the cancer is. Over the years, researchers have discovered that some cancers grow quickly and others very slowly -- so slowly, in fact, that they will never pose a threat to the life of the patient.

Imagine, though, being a doctor sitting down with a patient who is waiting for test results. "The biopsy," you say, "has come back, and yes, you have cancer. But this type of cancer grows very slowly, so we take a different approach. This type of cancer is rarely malignant, so you won't have to go through chemo or radiation treatments!" You smile and clap your hands together, so pleased that you can give the patient some good news.

Now imagine you are the patient. Do you hear anything past "you have cancer?"

It is almost understandable, then, that the patient will insist on aggressive treatment. And it may make sense, too, that the doctor, afraid of a medical malpractice lawsuit, obliges. The patient goes through treatment that often includes surgery.

Researchers have found that some prostate, breast, lung and thyroid cancers fall into the "slow-progressing" category, and a study published recently in JAMA Otolaryngology supports the argument. This study found that the number of cases of thyroid cancer has nearly tripled over the past 40 years.

The increase can be attributed in part to advances in technology and a trend favoring early detection of cancer. The sense in the medical community has been that the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better chance the patient has to survive. Unfortunately, according to one of the study's authors, "Our old strategy of looking as hard as possible to find cancer has some real side effects."

Just what those side effects are will be explained in our next post.

Source: TwinCities.com, "Thyroid cancer cases have soared," Lindsey Tanner (Associated Press), Feb. 20, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Law Offices

Email Us For A Response

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Contact Us for Your Insurance Defense Solutions and Other Legal Needs


877-886-4029 Toll Free
518-465-0400 New York

20 Corporate Woods Boulevard
Albany, NY 12211

Phone: 518-465-0400
Fax: 518-465-0015
Albany Law Office Map

507 Main Street
Bennington, VT 05201

Fax: 518-465-0015
Map & Directions