The “c” word is very scary no matter how old one may be. Whether it’s simply a cancer prognosis or the eventual diagnosis, it can leave a person feeling quite anxious about the uncertainty of the future. Not feeling well is just the start, but then comes the extremely high costs of care that can be associated with the process. Recently the American Society of Clinical Oncology took an in-depth look at some of the tests and treatments oncologists use, that may not actually be supported by evidence that helps patients live longer and treats them in an effective manner.

The ASCO study was conducted as part of a national effort called Choosing Wisely® that looked at certain tests and treatments that didn’t have adequate evidence to support their practicality. These diagnostic tools or treatment options may have been part of protocol, but not necessarily needed for proper diagnosis, and in some cases could actually be more detrimental to the health of the patient. Of course this was never meant to exclude when a patient and their doctor(s) have had serious discussions about options and why they’re proceeding in a certain way. The ASCO meant for this list to help provide education to the patient and doctors, and to help stimulate better conservations amongst them to eventually lead to better care.

ASCO Top Five list for oncology*:

  1. Cancer directed therapy for solid tumor patients with little or no benefit from prior treatment.
  2. PET, CT and radionuclide bone scans in low-risk prostate cancer patients.
  3. PET, CT and radionuclide bone scans in low-risk breast cancer patients.
  4. Surveillance testing and imaging for breast cancer survivors with no symptoms
  5. White cell-stimulating factors for primary prevention of fever/infection associated with neutropenia (a low number of a type of white blood cells) in low-risk patients.

*Visit the Journal of Clinical Oncology for details on the summarized list above.


This article in part, along with it’s photography was re-posted from the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Blog. It was meant simply to help educate a greater number of people and to provide access to the amazing feats that the UoM is providing in cancer treatment and research. To visit their blog, please visit: