We’re seeing a lot of stories botch the reporting of the Danish study showing a statistical association between statin use and fewer deaths from cancer. The emphasis we added is deliberate and important. That’s all it showed.
At Reuters Health, Gene Emery got it right. Excerpts:
There should be little doubt in the minds of readers of the Reuters Health story that cause-and-effect was not established in this study.
The headlines of these stories generated by a Google search are misleadingly inaccurate because of how they emphasize cause-and-effect – “help fight cancer…lower risk of dying…cut mortality…can extend lives”.
FOX News Radio
Why does this matter? Is this just an academic pursuit? Just nit-picking wordsmithing?
It matters because it’s wrong. It’s inaccurate. Accuracy is a journalistic principle.
It matters because it misleads readers.
It matters because many experts already believe we’re over-prescribing statins and we shouldn’t ascribe “benefits” that haven’t been established, leading to even more potential over-prescribing.
We just had a national election that didn’t dwell enough on health care costs. We need to do a better job educating the public – not whipping the worried well into a frenzy over unproven ideas.