The importance of maintaining treatment to reduce the risk of recurrence
(NC)—Advances in treatments are improving outcomes for women diagnosed with breast cancer. However, results of a new Leger Marketing survey reveal that an alarming number of breast cancer patients still do not understand just how important it is to take the full course of therapy in order to reduce the chance of their cancer returning.
While the majority of women surveyed believe that adhering to medications is important, one in four admit to not always doing so. The most common reason cited for not following a physician's instructions for taking medication is forgetting to take it.
Dr. Dominique Synnott, General Surgeon and Surgery in Oncology, Head of Breast Clinic in Sacred-Heart Hospital and Associate Professor at the University of Montreal, finds this concerning, “The fact that women are forgetting seems to indicate that they do not realize just how strong the connection is between adhering to treatment and reducing the risk of recurrence. Side effects, including muscle aches and bone pain are another reason for discontinuation. I closely monitor my patients and address issues to ensure they stay on therapy to maximize the benefits.”
Research from the Journal of Clinical Oncology supports these findings — many women are not adhering to their full course of therapy. In fact, approximately one in four women with hormone sensitive early stage breast cancer stopped taking their anti-estrogen treatment during the first year, and after three years nearly half of all women with early stage breast cancer discontinued their therapy.
“When I started, my doctor told me that following the treatment regime was one of the best things I could do to reduce the chances of my cancer coming back,” says Linda Dias, CBCN Board Member and breast cancer survivor. “I did everything I could and involved my doctor and my personal circle of care to get me through the process. In order to obtain the best outcomes possible, whether you are pre- or post-menopausal, it is important to take care of yourself by sticking to a healthy diet, maintaining good bone health, and ensuring a balanced lifestyle and emotional wellbeing.”
To help learn more about available treatment options and how to adhere to treatment, speak to your doctor or visit www.cbcn.ca.
- News Canada