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Many women worry unnecessarily about breast cancer recurrence

Category: Breast

A positive breast cancer test can be a frightening thing for many women. Yet, even after the tumor has successfully been removed, many individuals continue to worry about a recurrence of the disease to a degree that is out of proportion to their actual risk, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

After successful treatment, very few women will experience a recurrence of breast cancer. It is relatively rare. However, the researchers said that women who worry excessively about their cancer risk may make unwise treatment decisions or avoid further breast cancer testing.

After surveying 1,837 women in the Detroit area, the researchers found that language played a key role in the degree to which breast cancer survivors worried. A total of 46 percent of women who spoke primarily Spanish said that they worried very much about recurrence. However, numbers were significantly lower for those whose main language was English.

The researchers said that developing programs that are tailored to a woman's culture may go a long way toward putting survivors' minds at ease. This may improve their quality of life and lead to better outcomes.

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