On Monday, a panel of experts advised the National Cancer Institute to change the definition of caner and eliminate the classification entirely for certain diseases. The proposed changes, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, could dramatically affect cancer detection and treatment…for the better!
Today, Dr. Davis Agus, a leading cancer specialist and the head of USC Cancer Center, agreed. He stated that slow growing cancers MUST be redefined in order to reduce potentially damaging over-treatment.
There is now “new” technology allowing researchers to diagnose many more cancers. The problem is that many of these cancers are not EVER going to cause a health risk if left alone, untreated. The risk of aggressive treatment of slow-growing cancers include undergoing “radical therapy” including surgery and radiation treatments that could cause “lots of side effects when it is not needed,” according to Agus. “Lots of cancers…we do not need to treat.” These include some types of thyroid and breast cancers. The key is to treat the cancers we need to, therefore needing a new definition as Agus suggests.
Agus advises doctors to educate their patients about the range of treatment options available. This allows the patient to fully understand potential side effect risks and ramifications and can weigh them against the risks of living fulfilled life with a slow-growing cancer.
“There rarely is one right decision. There is the right decision for the patient,” he explained.
Halleluiah, words I have lived and practiced with all my life. This advise is LONG overdue in my opinion and is good information for us all. We are the only developed country in the world where radical treatment for cancer is a first choice! We need to get with the rest of the world and look at environment, nutrition and lifestyle changes as the first line of treatment for certain cancers.