Monday, April 18, 2016

No Longer A Cancer

Just like Pluto is no longer a planet, one type of thyroid cancer is no longer a cancer.

"An international panel of pathologists and clinicians has reclassified a type of thyroid cancer to reflect that it is noninvasive and has a low risk for recurrence.
The panel renamed encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (EFVPTC) as noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP)."

So you used to have cancer but now you don't any more. This isn't a cure in any way, shape, or form. Its a bit of fancy word play if you ask me. And its a way to prevent overdiagnosis. (Isn't that smart.) Its sort of like sending a rocket to Pluto and then deciding not to after it was already on its way.

For me its a bit of a different story. Back at my thyroid cancer diagnosis, I was told I had both follicular and papillary. I don't think they had any way of diagnosing subtypes then so I have no way of knowing if the follicular thyroid cancer I had was this non-cancer type or not. This is not helpful to me at all.

"Dr Nikiforov and colleagues point out that the incidence of EFVPTC has risen two- to threefold during the past 20 to 30 years and makes up 10% to 20% of all thyroid tumors diagnosed in Europe and North America. This increased incidence has been explained by improvements in diagnosis. It has been described as an "epidemic of diagnosis" rather than a true increase in disease."

This is part of the movement to decrease over diagnosis and over treatment. Okay, I can understand the over treatment part but not the over diagnosis part.

"In 2013, a working group sanctioned by the National Cancer Institute proposed that a number of premalignant conditions, including ductal carcinoma in situ and high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, should no longer be called "cancer."

Instead, the conditions should be labeled something more appropriate, such as indolent lesions of epithelial origin (IDLE), the working group suggested. "Use of the term 'cancer' should be reserved for describing lesions with a reasonable likelihood of lethal progression if left untreated," the group said at the time."

Over diagnosis is a problem that I can agree with. However if its an ailment that requires treatment it should be treated appropriately. I also can agree if people are told what they have is not cancer, it may be significantly less stressful for the patient and their family. But if it is something that could turn in to cancer and kill you in the long run, the word cancer should not be removed from the name. And if you can't tell which it is, just assume the worst and treat accordingly.

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