SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A panel of experts advising the National Cancer Institute have proposed changing the definition of cancer, eliminating it entirely for some illnesses – particularly those that aren’t typically fatal given developments in medical science.
The recommendations were published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The authors gave two examples. One is a breast biopsy lesion called DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ — stage 0 breast cancer. By itself, it doesn’t harm a woman, but in some cases it goes on to invasive breast cancer. They want to get rid of the word “carcinoma.” Then there is an abnormal prostate biopsy called high grade PIN, which is a kind of a neoplasia, or an abnormal tissue growth. Sometimes it goes on to prostate cancer; sometimes it doesn’t. But in the vast majority of men, even if you go on to get prostate cancer, it doesn’t kill, so they want to get rid of the word neoplasia.