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Misleading terminology in pathology: lack of definitions hampers communication


Chow, ZL and Indave, BI and Lokuhetty, MDS and Ochiai, A and Cree, IA and White, VA, Misleading terminology in pathology: lack of definitions hampers communication, Virchows Archiv, 479, (2) pp. 425-430. ISSN 0945-6317 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1007/s00428-021-03069-7


Accurate terminology is the basis for clear communication among specialists and relies upon precise definitions, indispensable for the WHO Classification of Tumours. We identified a number of potentially misleading terms in use in the recently published WHO Classification of Tumours, 5(th) edition. From a list of common sources that might be consulted by specialists in the pathology field, we searched for definitions of the terms. Where at least two sources provided definitions for a term, we assessed their level of agreement using an ad hoc developed scale. We identified 26 potentially misleading terms from the 5(th) edition Digestive System and Breast Tumour Books, and 16 sources. The number of definitions provided by the sources ranged from no definition (for four terms) to ten (for two terms). No source had definitions for all terms. We found only 111 (27%) of a possible 416 definitions. Where two or more definitions were present for a term, the level of agreement between them was judged to be high. There was a paucity of definitions for potentially misleading terms in the sources consulted, but there was a good agreement when two or more definitions were present. In a globalized world where healthcare workers and learners in many fields may access these sources to learn about terminology with which they are unfamiliar, the lack of definitions is a hindrance to a precise understanding of classification in the speciality of pathology and to clear communication between specialist groups.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:medical terminology, communication, classification of tumors
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Immunology
Research Field:Immunology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the health sciences
UTAS Author:Chow, ZL (Mr Zi Long Chow)
ID Code:152276
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2022-08-16
Last Modified:2022-08-16

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