Here’s another problem with the practice of TV networks using physician “contributors” to comment on health care news. They may have a clear conflict of interest that is not addressed.
When the American Cancer Society released its updated guidelines on prostate cancer screening today, Fox News reported:
“Dr. David Samadi, a Fox News contributor and chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said he thinks the new guidelines could cause unnecessary deaths.
“In my practice, we find men in their 30s and 40s that are at high-risk and develop prostate cancer,” Samadi said.
“Knowing your PSA is power, it is educational; you follow it all the time. You can find a silent prostate cancer that will not affect you, and there is a possibility to over-diagnose, but that’s a risk the patient needs to take. You could also find cancer that could lead to death.”
The number of prostate cancer deaths continues to decline because of regular screening, Samadi added.
“I really recommend (the age) of 40 as a baseline age,” Samadi said.”
Doesn’t Fox see that he has a blatant conflict of interest on this topic as one who runs a robotic surgery center? There are countless ways to counter these short quotes from Dr. Samadi, but I’m not going to run through them here. Read the Cancer Society report and you’ll find all of them there – in dispassionate, non-conflicted, evidence-based depth.
Look at how Katie Hobson of US News & World Report included an expert urologist’s input, and one with a much more open-minded and balanced perspective.
“… the gist of all this is a firm end to the notion, still held by some clinicians, that screening for prostate cancer is “the same as colorectal cancer screening or cholesterol screening,” says Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancers for the ACS and coauthor of the report.
“There has to be a conversation,” says John Davis, assistant professor in the department of urology at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “And these guidelines give some very nice bulleted points and Web links you could build into an information sheet and give to patients.”