Inside Your Health: Breast cancer treatment: How long is too long?


Dr. Archelle Georgiou discusses the details of treating the disease.

Breast cancer affects about 264,000 women in America every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS anchor Leah McLean and Inside Your Health expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou looked at a new study from the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Surgery on Wednesday that examined the timing of treatment for breast cancer.

The study surveyed 370,000 women in the national cancer database and learned that 88% of those women had mastectomies within about eight weeks of diagnosis.

The study shows 12% of these women wait longer than eight weeks — up to 12. Women that waited for more than eight weeks had a 15% decreased chance of making it to five years in remission.

The study didn’t look at all of the reasons why women may not get treatment before eight weeks, but it addressed a few factors. Women who are uninsured, live under the poverty level, and use Medicare may have a higher chance of waiting longer than eight weeks for treatment.

Dr. Georgiou said the study shows waiting too long for care is not good, but receiving care at two, three, or even six weeks is no different than receiving it at eight weeks.

As for other ways to care for yourself after a breast cancer diagnosis, Dr. Georgiou said advocating for yourself is key. The first step is ensuring you have a thorough evaluation including a PET scan, an MRI, and the proper gene evaluations.

For those that may struggle to receive treatment, reach out to the Susan G. Komen Foundation or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for resources and help.

Read the full study from JAMA Surgery below.