This seems huge, although the questions about the overdiagnosis of cancer have been bubbling up for a while.
A group of experts advising the nation’s premier cancer research institution has recommended sweeping changes in the approach to cancer detection and treatment, including changes in the very definition of cancer and eliminating the word entirely from some common diagnoses.
The recommendations, from a working group of the National Cancer Institute, were published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They say, for instance, that some premalignant conditions, like one that affects the breast called ductal carcinoma in situ, which many doctors agree is not cancer, should be renamed to exclude the word carcinoma so that patients are less frightened and less likely to seek what may be unneeded and potentially harmful treatments that can include the surgical removal of the breast.
The “Susan G Komen for the Cure” take is quite a bit different:
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer. In DCIS, abnormal cells are contained in the milk ducts. It is called “in situ” (which means “in place”) because the cells have not left the milk ducts to invade nearby breast tissue. …. You may also hear the terms “pre-invasive” or “pre-cancerous” to describe DCIS.