What’s in a Name?

namesIn a new article published by the New York Times, it is revealed that a general feeling by the scientific community to downplay a diagnosis will be a good thing – in this case, some forms of pre-cancer conditions, such as my own DCIS, would no longer be tagged with the word ‘carcinoma’ in the name, but something that sounds like lesions.  A physician felt this would be a positive because as it  was”reclassified as a low-grade lesion rather than a malignancy, women were more willing to submit to observation rather than demanding treatment”.

Read the article here

So how do YOU feel about this?  Would you rather watch and wait or seek treatment for something that is not at a malignant state as of yet?

The medical community stands behind this thought because, as cited in the article, “The impetus behind the call for change is a growing concern among doctors, scientists and patient advocates that hundreds of thousands of men and women are undergoing needless and sometimes disfiguring and harmful treatments for premalignant and cancerous lesions that are so slow growing they are unlikely to ever cause harm.”  It goes on to say “The issue is often referred to as overdiagnosis, and the resulting unnecessary procedures to which patients are subjected are called overtreatment.”

Would I have preferred to watch and wait for my DCIS to turn malignant and then require removal of all my lymph nodes plus chemo and radiation?  I think not!

Until science and medicine can detect the growth patterns connected with a specific cell structure from a biopsy to predict how it will behave, I for one would not play Russian roulette with my health.

There are so many mixed messages with all types of cancer – so much to learn.  “Another National Cancer Institute program, the Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research Network, or Betrnet, is focused on changes in the esophageal lining that for years have been viewed as a precursor to esophageal cancer. Although patients with Barrett’s are regularly screened and sometimes treated by burning off the esophageal lining, data now increasingly suggest that most of the time, Barrett’s is benign and probably does not need to be treated at all. Researchers from various academic centers are now working together and pooling tissue samples to spur research that will determine when Barrett’s is most likely to become cancerous.”

Until that time, what would you prefer to hear?



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