Former breast cancer patients, with a small chance of contracting the disease again, need to go to the hospital unnecessarily for exams. This is evident from the thesis of researcher Annemieke Witteveen of the University of Twente.
Witteveen analyzed the treatments of approximately 50,000 women who had breast cancer, reports Faithful Monday. This shows that the number of treatments is not linked to the risk of recurrence of breast cancer, so that women at low risk receive as many tests as women at high risk.
Ex-patients should be monitored for years by their doctor, especially in the first five years after treatment for breast cancer. Some of them receive extra tests, for example if they were irradiated or underwent surgery and had breast cancer at a young age.
According to Witteveen, the number of hospital visits can be reduced by about nine thousand. She says doctors do not take into account the size of tumors and the way they are treated. In addition, there would not be enough attention to estimate the risk of getting breast cancer again.
In conversation with Faithful Witteveen says checks have a reassuring effect, but that does not outweigh the discomfort and stress that controls bring. The researcher also points out the extra costs for care.
14,500 diagnoses of breast cancer annually
Every year around 14,500 breast cancer is diagnosed in the Netherlands, says KWF Kankerbestrijding. The vast majority of patients are female. Approximately one hundred men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
The survival rate is over 85% after five years. Over the next five years, it decreases by about 10%. The chance for a former patient to get breast cancer for the second time in twenty years is 15-20%.