Obama administration seeks to reduce cases of cancer in US…by changing the definition of cancer

In history some of the smartest people who ever lived were the most evil.

If you needed another reason to oppose government run health care here’s one to make your blood boil.

Why The Federal Government Wants To Redefine The Word ‘Cancer’

The federal government wants to reduce the number of Americans diagnosed each year with cancer. But not by better preventive care or healthier living. Instead, the government wants to redefinethe term “cancer” so that fewer conditions qualify as a true cancer. What does this mean for ordinary Americans — and should we be concerned?

On July 29, 2013, a working group for the National Cancer Institute (the main government agency for cancer research)published a paper proposing that the term “cancer” be reserved for lesions with a reasonable likelihood of killing the patient if left untreated. Slower growing tumors would be called a different name such as “indolent lesions of epithelial origin” (IDLE). Their justification was that modern medical technology now allows doctors to detect small, slow-growing tumors that likely wouldn’t be fatal. Yet once patients are told they have a cancer, many become frightened and seek unnecessary further tests, chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. By redefining the term “cancer,” the National Cancer Institute hopes to reduce patient anxiety and reduce the risks and expenses associated with supposedly unnecessary medical procedures. In technical terms, the government hopes to reduce “overdiagnosis” and “overtreatment” of cancer.

It is true that some patients wrongly view the word “cancer” as the equivalent of a death sentence and become overly distraught. This can cloud their judgment when they most need their full rational faculties to make sound medical decisions.

But while there are legitimate scientific and medical questions about the proper definition and classification of any disease (including cancer), we must be careful that that any redefinition won’t be used for inappropriate political purposes. Given the increasing government control over US health care, how the government defines medical terms can have serious economic and policy implications.

For example, the definition of a “live birth” has become important in discussions over health care policy. Many on the political Left cite the supposedly high infant mortality rate in the US relative to Europe as one of the failures of the US health system.

But Dr. Bernadine Healy (former director of the National Institutes of Health and of the American Red Cross) has noted:

The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth.

Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates. For this very reason, the Organization for  Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country.

 

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