Navigation Links
Promoting healthy skepticism in the news: Helping journalists get it right
Date:11/20/2009

An editorial published online November 20 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute discusses the exaggerated fears and hopes that often appear in news coverage of cancer research. The editorial provides guidance for both the media and journals to help alleviate the problem.

Lisa M. Schwartz, M.D., M.S., and Steven Woloshin, M.D., M.S., of Center for Medicine and the Media at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in New Hampshire, and Barnett S. Kramer, M.D., editor-in-chief of the JNCI, use recent media coverage of two studies from the New England Journal of Medicine and the JNCI to demonstrate their point.

Coverage of trial results of the new anti-cancer drug olaparib, which appeared in the NEJM, exaggerated hope in many ways. One national news outlet claimed the drug "was the most important cancer breakthrough of the decade," but failed to note that the study was uncontrolled (so there is no way to know if the drug accounted for the findings), and very preliminary (it is not known if the findings will ever translate into longer life).

The editorialists also point to coverage of a JNCI article on alcohol consumption and cancer risk among women, which may have caused unwarranted fear: "A drink a day raises women's risk of cancer," read one newspaper headline. Unfortunately, the coverage did not provide the magnitude of the risk. Comparing the highest level of drinking (≥15 drinks a week) to the lowest (one to two drinks per week), the investigators observed a 0.6% absolute increase in the risk of breast cancer diagnosis: from 2% to 2.6% for more than 7 years.

Journalists are not the only ones to blame, though, according to the editorialists. Medical journals sometimes leave important elements out of studies. In many cases, absolute risks and study limitations are omitted from the abstracts and journal press releases.

To help journalists and medical journals, the editorialists include tip sheets with guidance on questions to ask study authors, the interpretation of common statistics, and ways to highlight study limitations.

The tip sheets are posted on a new JNCI Web site for science writers: http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/jnci/resource/reporting_on_cancer.html

"We hope that effortswithin medical journals and those directed toward journalistswill help foster healthy skepticism in the news," the authors write. "Namely, setting a higher bar for covering very preliminary or inherently weak research, routinely providing data to support claims, and always highlighting study limitations."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Graff
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1285
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Pittsburgh Partners Launch Promising Family-Centered Care Model: Special Focus on Promoting Parental Well-Being and Healthy Child Development
2. Swanson Health Products Joins Peggy Fleming in Promoting the Heart Health Benefits of Ubiquinol, a CoQ10 Dietary Supplement
3. KEAP1 Keeps major cancer-promoting protein at bay
4. The Scleroderma Foundation Applauds Introduction of First Bill in the Senate Promoting Research and Awareness of Scleroderma
5. What are the most effective ways of promoting physical exercise in adults?
6. Ridge Diagnostics Wins Growth-Promoting Loan From Biotech Center
7. Texas Health Resources Recognized by National Business Group on Health as Leading Employer Promoting Healthy Lifestyles for Employees
8. CVS Caremark Recognized with Gold Award from National Business Group on Health for Promoting Healthy Lifestyles for Employees
9. UPMC and UPMC Health Plan Recognized by National Business Group on Health As a Leading Employer Promoting Healthy Lifestyles for Its Employees
10. Insurance Leader Praises Senator Kennedy for Promoting Long-Term Care Aid for All Americans as Part of Health Reform
11. The Scleroderma Foundation Applauds Introduction of First Bill In Congress Promoting Research and Awareness of Scleroderma
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer ... they remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights ... American Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here . , ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... California (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel ... Cut Pro X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective ... Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind ... able to be personalized through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the ... solutions currently only offer a one size fits all type program , They ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, ... work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the ... closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization ... in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical trial (Halt ... its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the trial to ... 2016, and to report top line data from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 ... Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any indication, the future is ... online at www.diabetesscholars.org by the Diabetes Scholars ... in the way of academic and community service excellence. ... program since 2012, and continues to advocate for people ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 The vast majority of dialysis ... facility.  Treatments are usually 3 times a week, with ... including travel time, equipment preparation and wait time.  This ... grueling for patients who are elderly and frail.  Many ... and rehabilitation centers for some duration of time. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: