Bay Area Doctor Wants Cancer Out of Certain Diagnosis - NBC Bay Area

Bay Area Doctor Wants Cancer Out of Certain Diagnosis



    Bay Area Doctor Wants Cancer Out of Diagnosis Language

    Not everything that is currently called cancer, is cancer. Joe Rosato Jr. reports. (Published Monday, July 29, 2013)

    When you hear the word cancer, you automatically fear the worst. But as modern medicine has proven, that's not always the case.

    Anyone’s who ever waded through the world of medicine has probably tripped over the confusing terminology of medical jargon.

    Still there’s one medical word that’s universally understood.

    The word is Cancer.

    “Most people when they hear the word cancer, assume they’re going to die without aggressive treatment,” Dr. Laura Esserman said. But the UCSF cancer surgeon knows that’s certainly not always the case.

    “Our understanding of cancer today is that encompassing many, many diseases, some of which are very slow growing and may not bother you, and some which are very aggressive,” Esserman said.

    One example is small lesions found in the milk glands of some women.

    Doctors agree they aren’t cancerous even though they bear the name ductile carcinoma.

    “Some of them are called cancer and probably should not be called cancer. I mean we should get that word out of the name so that we don’t frighten people,” Esserman said.

    Esserman and a panel of researchers are now calling on medical leaders to change some of the terminology surrounding cancer so that some lesser conditions that may not actually develop into the disease no longer bear the ominous name.

    The group’s findings were published today in the journal of the American Medical Association.

    Some medical experts today expressed concern at the report saying doctor’s shouldn’t sugarcoat patient’s condition when they don’t know whether or not they’ll turn cancerous.

    Esserman says increases in health screening are turning up things that may not require sounding the alarm and removing the “C” word may also help keep the word “fear”out of the waiting room.