Some doctors are urging the medical community to stop using the word “cancer” to describe the lowest-grade form of the disease, which is common in men as they age and usually doesn’t lead to a more serious cancer diagnosis.
A Gleason 6 score on a prostate cancer biopsy is the lowest score you can get, and should be cause for celebration and anxiety reduction, not fear, these doctors say.
“This is the least aggressive, wimpiest form of prostate cancer that is literally incapable of causing symptoms or spreading to other parts of the body,” said University of Chicago Medicine’s Dr. Scott Eggener, who is reviving a debate about how to explain the threat to worried patients.
The words “You have cancer” have a profound effect on patients, Eggener wrote in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He and his co-authors say fear of the disease can cause some patients to overreact and opt for unneeded surgery or radiation.