Bekelman and Emanuel - Unnecessary Radiation Treatments

Bekelman and Emanuel - Unnecessary Radiation Treatments

A new study by Justin Bekelman and Ezekiel Emanuel shows that the majority of breast cancer lumpectomy patients are receiving radiation
Justin Bekelman
Justin Bekelman (top) and Ezekiel Emanuel

treatments over a longer period of time than may be required for their conditions.

Wide media pickup
The findings are generating news stories in major media outlets across the country including the New York Times, USA Today, Vox and NBC News.

The study notes that most women are getting five to seven weeks of radiation when the latest studies and expert guidelines endorse a higher-dose treatment usually delivered over three weeks.

160,000 women annually
In its article, the Times reports that a total of between 140,000 to 160,000 women with breast cancer have lumpectomies each year. The unnecessary weeks of radiation significantly increase costs for the health care system and insurers at the same time they prolong the life disruption for the patients.

Bekelman, MD, is an Assistant Professor of both Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Radiation Oncology at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, and an LDI Senior Fellow. Emanuel, PhD, MD, MSc, is Penn's Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, an LDI Senior Fellow, and an oncologist.