Words matter

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7131.632 (Published 14 February 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:632

The term “side effects” trivialises unwanted effects

  1. Jean Mossman, Chief executive
  1. CancerBACUP, London EC2A 3JR
  2. Oxford Renal Unit, The Churchill, Oxford OX3 7LJ
  3. Department of Medicine, George Washington University, 2150 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA

    EDITOR—Smart points out that patients with kidney failure may be distressed by the term “end stage kidney failure.”1 CancerBACUP, a charity that provides information, counselling, and support for all those affected by cancer, has had similar feedback from patients with cancer. Recently, when revising our booklet “Understanding cancer of the prostate,” we sought the advice …

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