Saturday, August 31, 2013

Language Makes a Big Difference in Cancer Land

Here is an excerpt from a New York Times story about the power of the word "cancer". Test yourself: what is your reaction to lesion, abnormal cells or the word cancer?

Words prompt women to seek surgery
Women were more likely to want surgery when they were told they had a type of breast cancer than when the diagnosis was a lesion or a group of abnormal cells — even though all three scenarios described the same disease. The findings, reported Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, offer a new way to gauge the power of the word "cancer."
The words doctors use to tell a woman she has ductal carcinoma in situ can make a big difference in the treatment she chooses. DCIS can be an early form of breast cancer. But in many cases, the tumor never grows beyond the milk duct where it was found. If it does invade the surrounding tissue, it can take 40 years to do so.

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