Early Breast Cancer and Watchful Waiting

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For doctors and for patients, treating breast cancer has always meant immediate and aggressive treatment.

Now a new study is raising questions about whether that's always the best way to go.

It turns out that it's very rare to die from an early form of stage zero breast cancer called DCIS, and aggressive treatment doesn't change that survival rate.

So some doctors say instead of treatment, another option is watchful waiting.

Basically, you and your doctor keep a really close eye on things.

But some people shouldn't try watchful waiting at all.

Researchers found that two groups had lower survival rates, women under the age of 35 and black women.

So if you fall into these categories, it looks like aggressive treatment is still your best option.

This is just one study, and more research is needed.

But watchful waiting may be an option to discuss with your doctor.

For WebMD, I'm Dr. Michael Smith.