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Could delaying chemotherapy help patients fight cancer?

October 2010

A study just published in The ­Lancet found that when a patient's ovarian ­cancer recurs, there is ­nothing to gain from ­starting ­treatment as soon as tests show the disease has returned. In fact, delaying treatment until they have actual symptoms slightly extends life expectancy.

 

The trial, which was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of ­Cancer, involved 1,442 women in the UK and other European ­countries who had gone into remission following treatment for advanced ovarian cancer.

 

Ovacome, the ovarian cancer ­support network, welcomes the study, but has some reservations.

 

Chief executive Louise Bayne says: "It means patients can delay treatment to a time that suits them. However, I do have concerns that at a time when hospitals are under tight financial constraints, some may interpret this wrongly as a green light to withdraw ­follow-up services and monitoring for women who have been through ovarian cancer."

 

Read more at The Daily Mail