Originally featured on The Fullest.

Because cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, it’s understandable that it gets a great deal of press coverage. The downside, however, is that a lot of misperceptions get reinforced over time. When we constantly read or hear about cancer in the news, it generates fear. The overall impression of most people seems to be that a) cancer is a death sentence, and b) all cancers grow quickly.

I’m happy to say, the public is wrong on both counts.

The assumption that most cancers are fast-growing has led to the approach that early detection and fast treatment is the best defense. Unfortunately, this fear-driven approach to find even the smallest anomalies in tissue and treat them as fully developed cancers is leading patients to make decisions they later regret. Breast cancer is one of the areas where this rush to treatment is most prevalent.