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Many cancer patients being overtreated

Many cancer patients in New Jersey and across the U.S. are being overtreated for their disease, according to three new studies. The research was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago in early June.

In one study, scientists found that many women diagnosed with early-stage hormone-positive, HER-2 breast cancer do not benefit from undergoing chemotherapy. In fact, anti-hormone treatments are sufficient if the disease hasn't spread to a woman's lymph nodes. Meanwhile, a French study found that patients with severe forms of colon cancer are not helped by heated chemotherapy, a common treatment that was first introduced around 15 years ago. Finally, a Paris study discovered that surgery does little to help late-stage kidney cancer patients. The results showed that surgically removing the diseased kidney only causes a patient pain and increases his or her medical bills.

According to medical experts, there are likely many more types of cancer that are being overtreated, and more research is needed to identify them. However, it is difficult to get funding for such research in the United States. The federal government has significantly reduced its research funding in recent years, and pharmaceutical companies are only interested in funding research that could help their products. As a result, many long-term cancer studies are being conducted in Europe.

Doctors who needlessly overtreat cancer patients could cause them to suffer a worsened medical condition. In such situations, it may be advisable for a patient to file a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking damages. An attorney could review the case to determine if a doctor failed to provide the medical standard of care. If so, the doctor could be ordered to pay a financial settlement to the patient.

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