This thread's title reflects the title of the recently published article linked below, whose point is that "... terms used to describe prostate cancer could impact a man’s subsequent decision-making, including preference for active surveillance."
The article goes on to say: “The disease label a physician chooses to use will contribute to the early impressions a patient forms about their condition and may affect how they choose to manage their disease.”
“Grade group 1 out of 5 prostate cancer better reflects the low-risk nature of the disease than the historical Gleason 6 disease, and may increase preference for active surveillance on first impression.”
"In prostate cancer and other malignancies, the language used to describe a disease upon diagnosis can carry enormous meaning for patients and evoke emotional and psychosocial responses."
In a study, researchers found that"... diagnosis nomenclature correlated with management preference and diagnosis-related anxiety."
and“The preference for the term ‘grade group 1 out of 5 prostate cancer’ over ‘Gleason 6 out of 10 prostate cancer’ is something that we expected.”
and, essentially the point of the article,"There are tumors with pretty low risk that should have a less scary name.”
There is even a musing in the article that low-grade PCa tumors should instead be called "... indolent lesions of epithelial origin," rather than cancer-something.
But it is also suggested in the article that this is all just semantics, and"Removing the cancer label would not prevent serious psychosocial and financial consequences if accompanied by a recommendation for protracted follow-up, as is the case for active surveillance for prostate cancer."
And as well, the article notes“With recent changes to patients’ ability to access the information in their medical records, it is conceivable that a patient may see their pathology report before their urologist has had the opportunity to explain the results in context ... (and) ... the language and terms used in pathology reports may generate first impressions for how a patient views their disease.”
The article suggests no answer to the question of what, if anything to do about
what we might call using "soft" versus "hard" terminology, and simply describes the situation.
But hmmm... "A prostate cancer by any other name ..." Apparently what we call it does make a difference. https://www.healio.com/news/hematology-oncology/20210823/choice-of-terms-used-to-describe-cancer-may-affect-patient-decisions