Rosseau's Brainstorm: Detecting Cancer

One of the country’s top neurosurgeons wants to give women who have had breast cancer a chance to know their future. Is she doing them a favor?

By Laurence Gonzales

"As a neurosurgeon, I have a skewed view," Rosseau admits. "I see the patients who weren’t screened. They were doing well, then they were doing terribly. Oncologists for breast cancer are starting to say they want more data on this. Breast cancer happens so commonly, we can’t afford to do MRIs on everyone. So the people who have four or more positive nodes — are they the ones with larger tumors? Who are the ones we should be screening early on? Our lack of screening every patient may not be causing excessive death. But it makes sense to find out who the at-risk individuals are.

"We’re trying to move into the next phase of prevention."

Laurence Gonzales is the author of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why.

Originally published in MORE magazine, March 2007

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