Health News: Redefining Cancer

The National Cancer Institute has suggested we change the definition of the word “cancer.” A growing body of research shows that we are overtreating a great many harmless tumors, in the process harming patients and creating much unnecessary medical expense. Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said, “Sometimes no treatment is needed at all, and that’s why the National Cancer Institute recently recommended that the definition of cancer be changed ... Their new definition of cancer would be narrower than current standards. The Institute hopes that keeping the word cancer out of some diagnoses would minimize unnecessary treatments and help calm patient anxiety.”

50-60% of prostate cancer cases should be watched, not treated

20-30% of thyroid cancer cases should be watched

10% of lung cancer cases that should be watched

33% of breast cancer cases should be watched