The term “IDLE tumor” (InDolent Lesions of Epithelial origin) is being discussed at the national-level because patients eligible for Active Surveillance (AS) feel anxious about having a cancerous tumor in their bodies and not treating it. It is a “communications challenge” to overcome the disproportional response to the word “cancer” by low risk PC patients…and maybe new terminology is a path forward.
Post Edited (Casey59) : 4/11/2011 2:49:23 PM (GMT-6)
Post Edited (Purgatory) : 4/11/2011 8:31:30 PM (GMT-6)
The question was about the term "IDLE tumor." The fact is, it's a frighteningly Orwellian distortion of language. Language should reflect reality, not mask it. We already have a variety of terms. We describe certain lesions as "suspicious" or "changing" or "pre-cancerous." In the prostate, we have PIN.
Apparently, Gleason 5 has come to be judged as "pre-cancerous" rather than cancer. I assume that's true. Gleason 6, on the other hand, is either cancer or it's not. If it's not, then we don't really need a new term, but I'll bet most doctors would say that, yes, Gleason 6 is truly cancer. Using some new term to describe it won't change the reality. It will only mask it.
It seems to me that AS will have to stand on its own merits as a viable treatment choice, and it's apparently already doing that for a lot of guys. Pretending that Gleason 6 is not cancer would create confusion, where what is needed is clarity and demonstrable benefit. Clear language reflects clear thinking, and the more clear thinking, the better for all of us.