Table 4

Example and frequency of comment themes (n=167)*†

Theme descriptionExample%
Overall supporting renaming proposal22.1
Unnecessary anxiety/overtreatment‘I must say I agree with the re-labelling. I've personally seen a lot of damage and stress done to patients when they feel the need to act aggressively on neoplasia that is best left alone.’13.2
Cancer is a spectrum‘Some cancers are very slow growing and are less likely to kill you than say, a heart attack… I welcome the approach taken in the article.’9.6
Overall opposing renaming proposal49.7
Cancer is cancer‘If it's cancer, it's cancer. Changing the word does not change the thing.’19.2
Need for better education/communication‘Surely rather than stop using the word cancer for cancer, we should instead educate the population that cancer doesn't=instant death.’18.6
Can lead to negative implications‘Under a microscope the cells have appearances of cancer. To pretend otherwise is to put at risk patients who will not understand this and avoid follow-up.’9.0
Watchful waiting may cause anxiety‘The intense anxiety of watchful waiting is stressful… Of course, treatment of the anxiety would also be desirable to avoid surgery, but I think we underestimate the harm of years/decades of anxiety about cancer progressing.’2.4
Overall neither supporting nor opposing26.4
Other comments/cannot be coded‘The real reason? Your nanny state does not want to pay.’39.5
  • *Comments could have more than one theme applied.

  • †Not all media sources had public comments available, replies to original comments were excluded.