5 reasons to stop calling low-risk cancers ‘cancer’

A name change is needed and one of the most important steps to improving quality of life, says expert

What’s in a name? Plenty, according to a cancer expert who is arguing for a name change for indolent tumours, which have little chance of spreading but cause fear and apprehension in patients.

Dr Laura Esserman, director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center in San Francisco, pushes for the name change in a BMJ article, writing that patients are unnecessarily alarmed by the word ‘cancer’, which encompasses diseases with widely varying metastatic potential.