Healthcare Industry

We should look less hard for cancer

We should look less hard for cancer

There's a new cancer treatment strategy in the news: Wait and see. Time magazine ran a cover story on simply watching small breast cancers; the Wall Street Journal similarly reported on watching small thyroid cancers. So-called watchful waiting has been a long-standing option for early prostate cancers.

Wait and see is a strategy that acknowledges that some cancers are overdiagnosed: They do not need treatment because they do not pose a threat to health. But while watching small cancers avoids the harms of unnecessary treatment, it likely causes patients to worry about their future. That can't be good for their health.

Wouldn't it be better to simply not find these cancers...