The working group for the National Cancer Institute has proposed that the term “cancer” be redefined to mean only lesions likely to kill a patient if untreated.
Definitions can and are used for political purposes and not only to manipulate health statistics. But with the anticipated doctor shortage and financial crisis of the healthcare system and the government already looking at more ways to reduce medical care to seniors, it’s not surprising that doctors are especially cautious about the government redefining “cancer” so that fewer conditions qualify as cancer.
Why The Federal Government Wants To Redefine The Word ‘Cancer’
…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.”… Read more.