Got Cancer? Dude, get over it.
Tucked away in the Monday, May 5, 2014 Wall Street Journal, is an article that welcomes you to the Brave New World entitled, “Rethink The Word ‘Cancer,’ Panel Says.” It begins by quoting a panel of experts advising the National Cancer Institute. They say removing the word ‘cancer’ from slow-growing cancers “could ease patient’s fears and reduce the inclination of doctors to treat them aggressively.” Didn’t we used to save the patient needless anxiety by withholding their diagnosis from them when it was cancer? Now physicians are advised to do the same again, at least until some “expert” tells them that the lesion is indeed a threat to life and therefore ‘cancer’. The panel even has a soothing name for the new lesions not to be called cancer. Hereafter they are to be called “IDLE”, an acronym for Indolent Lesions of Epithelial Origin.
A quick Google of the National Cancer Institute reveals it is under NIH and headed by Dr. Harold Varmus, a political appointee of President Obama, and presumably a fan of ObamaCare with its IPAB and Council of Comparitive Effectiveness Research. This “expert panel” is supposedly setting the new paradigm. The NCI calls for “less routine screening for early cancers and more restraint in treating those that are found so that their natural course can be better understood.” Wasn’t there a similar “experiment” conducted by the Public Health Service working with the Tuskegee Institute to study the untreated natural progression of syphilis?
According to the lead author, Laura Esserman, “People have to get over the concept that early detection saves lives,” because the drop in mortality was smaller than expected. Never mind her erroneous conclusions as to why, it is sobering to realize that the lethal nature of each tumor is only accurately recognized retrospectively.
Interestingly, this article was published in Lancet, which also published Ezekiel Emanuel’s rationing curve in January, 2009. I would only suggest that the panel of experts and the individuals in the National Cancer Institute volunteer themselves for the study of the natural progression of “IDLE”, in conjunction with foregoing more frequent routine screenings. It’s a better shake than the impoverished Alabama sharecroppers got in the Public Health Service Tuskagee experiments.
Photo by Susan G. Komen®