Health News Review
  • Nov 19 2014

    Evaluating evidence in media messages about breast cancer

    The National Breast Cancer Coalition asked me to deliver a presentation at its Project LEAD® workshop in Washington, DC, on November 16. Project LEAD® is designed for NBCC members who want “an introductory education in the science of breast cancer, research design, advocacy and understanding medical news in the media.” My slides appear below.   [...]

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  • Nov 11 2014

    Pitt urologist peaved by prostate CA ads in NY Times & New Yorker

    Pitt urologist Benjamin Davies writes on a Forbes blog, “Prostate Cancer Advertising: Lies And The Damn Lies (Part 1).” He criticizes ads in the Sunday New York Times Magazine and in The New Yorker from last weekend. He writes: I have a rating system for prostate cancer advertisements based on two self-evident tenets.  First,  cancer advertising [...]

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  • Oct 31 2014

    Radiologists’ free mammography infographic leaves out vital info

    As another Breast Cancer Awareness month closes for another year, let’s take a look at an infographic that the American College of Radiology sent out to journalists earlier this month.  Here’s a portion of the email that I received:   We all make mistakes, but the misspelling of mammography gets this email off to a [...]

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  • Jul 30 2014

    Sit back & watch urologists go at it over robotic surgery claims

    I’m on vacation this week but I enjoyed sitting back and watching a urology kerfuffle over claims about a robotic surgery study and associated news release. Here’s what the American Urological Association (AUA) tweeted earlier today.  The Twitter responses are from a Pittsburgh urologist whose Twitter handle is @daviesbj. There’s a lot going on here, [...]

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  • Jul 22 2014

    Robotic roundup: Useful? Or little clinical value?…”robotic invasion”…outpaces evidence

    Here’s another of our periodic roundups of robotic surgery news, some of which doesn’t get much attention in the mainstream news media. Forbes has hosted a little back-and-forth about robotic surgery in recent weeks.  First, Robert Pearl, MD, chief executive of the Permanente Medical Group, included a discussion of robotic surgery in his piece, “America’s [...]

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  • Jul 1 2014

    Watch World Cup, get free skin CA screening – more hospital marketing

    It’s a new twist on “having skin in the game.” During today’s USA World Cup match, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City tweeted: Ok to cheer for the red, white and blue. But with these “free skin cancer screenings,” I wonder if people were told that: The US Preventive Services Task Force concludes “that [...]

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  • Jun 13 2014

    Robotic surgery news & marketing – misrepresentation of evidence

    “Under the glare of an operating theatre lamp….” Here it comes:  another drooling, fawning news story about robotic surgery – this time from The Guardian in the UK under the headline, “Newcastle hospital’s £2m robot transforms medical operations.” It was surprising to see how unquestioning the story was. The subheadline: “Dexterity of Da Vinci robot [...]

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  • Apr 4 2014

    “Check ‘em Tuesday” and CoppaFeel campaign strong on promotion, weak on evidence

    Newspapers that get involved in screening campaigns usually demonstrate that they don’t understand the limitations of screening. The latest example is The Sun of the UK, with its “Check ‘em Tuesday” campaign. The Sun has a thing for breasts.  It puts topless women in its regular Page 3 feature.  And, as you see, it cross-promotes [...]

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  • Mar 7 2014

    Robotic surgery roundup: great small paper journalism, new marketing/ad campaigns

    Since I think it’s a safe bet that not many of you regularly read The Bulletin newspaper of Bend, Oregon, I suggest you read a two-part series by Markian Hawryluk as just one indication of the difference one individual can make, no matter the size of the news organization. In part one, “Robot surgery is [...]

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  • Feb 5 2014

    Cancer fundraiser toys with truth in using robotic surgery to get donations

    Canadians may have thought they had been transported south of the border, where robotic surgery is widely and wildly promoted all the time. But this week, for World Cancer Day, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation posted this fundraising plea: The website explains: “Give 6 patients the best surgery while changing cancer care internationally with your [...]

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