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:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Dr. Robert Mondavi, one of the ... smiles. Cosmetic dentistry is a fast-growing field as more patients are discovering the many ... learn more about the options currently available to them and which ones might work ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... , ... Reltok Nasal Products proudly announces that Boston Medical Products, Inc., a ... throat specialty, has added the KOTLER NASAL AIRWAY™ to its diverse product line. , ... patented safety device secured by nasal surgeons onto the floor of the nasal passages, ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... growth round of funding led by Eastside Partners, with participation from existing investor ... growing customer base and accelerate its technology and product roadmap. , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Regenerative Medicine Solutions ... to Work employee satisfaction survey, earning them second place for Tampa’s Best Places to ... employees. , “This is a great accomplishment for our team,” says RMS Human ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The infertility specialists at HRC Fertility/Orange County (HRC/OC) ... Daniel A. Potter -- are proud of the recent release of their 2014 in ... SART published the latest verified data for 375 U.S. member clinics. *Preliminary ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... -- Glycotope GmbH, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company ... of Dr. Alfredo Zurlo as Chief Medical ... many years clinical experience and a proven track record ... was at Mologen AG where he was Chief Medical ... Zurlo held various positions at F Hoffmann La Roche ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Products Market 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... The global plastic surgery products market is expected ... period 2016-2020. , ,The growing adoption of laser in ... of the market. Lasers are used to treat a ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... YORK , April 28, 2016 ... online consumer insights on healthcare, announced today that it ... their report Cool Vendor in Life Sciences, 2016, ... April 15, 2016.  The report focuses on life-science- oriented ... gain insight from patients and doctors, confirm medication ingestion, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: