Clinicians are Overly Focused on Recurrence Prevention, Study Concludes

New research conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center at University of Pennsylvania concludes that survivors of breast cancer are being inadequately treated for a range of physical and psychosocial symptoms that accompany their cancer therapy. These include chronic joint pain, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and depression and they may prevail for years after cancer treatment is concluded. Treating clinicians need to think past the disease, according to the study team, and address symptom management more aggressively as a component of routine follow-up care. The conclusions are scheduled for presentation later this week at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Advances in breast cancer treatment have boosted the 5-year survival rate to 90%, and these survivors now number some 2.8 million Americans. But some 92% of these survivors additionally report an average of 3 symptoms for which they are now receiving adequate care, according to the study findings. Lead author Steven Palmer, PhD, research scientist at Abramson Cancer Center commented “Clinicians seeing patients for routine follow-up care may be focusing on recurrence prevention and detection to the exclusion of long term symptoms and whether survivors need help managing them.” Read more about the recommendations here.

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