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Invited Commentary
Less Is More
July 2016

When Less Is Better, but Physicians Are Afraid Not to Intervene

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of California, San Francisco, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(7):888-889. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2257

The Perspective by Jan Vick Harris1 should be a wake-up call to physicians, especially those taking care of patients with breast cancer. Harris was given a diagnosis with the word “cancer” in the title. Her first association was her dad—he died young, 8 weeks after his lung cancer diagnosis. Afraid, she opted for the recommended treatment. As she started her treatment, she reflected on another term, “stage 0.” When she questioned whether she should proceed with treatment, she heard that, without treatment, she would lose her breast to cancer. After completing radiation treatment, she consulted a medical oncologist, who suggested that the certainty of such an outcome was very much in doubt.

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