Health News Review
  • Mar 5 2015

    How much overdetection in cancer screening is acceptable?

    A paper in The BMJ, “People’s willingness to accept overdetection in cancer screening: population survey,” paints a picture of how difficult is the challenge of trying to inform and educate patients and health care consumers about over detection. The study tried to address what level of overdetection people would find acceptable in screening for bowel, [...]

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  • Feb 20 2015

    CBS promotes “essential/critical” screening tests but never mentions over-diagnosis

    The following is a guest blog post by Alan Cassels, a pharmaceutical policy researcher at the University of Victoria and the author of Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease (Greystone, 2012). The opinions are his; you are welcome to your own. —————————- While the Beatles might have famously sang that “All you [...]

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  • Feb 17 2015

    Sensational language – scary & fawning – in USNWR story on Cologuard colon cancer test

    Earlier this month, US News & World Report published a story, “Meet Cologuard: The Colon Cancer Test You Can Take At Home.” It profiles a man who had what is described as a “gruesome” experience from a colonoscopy 35 years ago – so bad “that he vowed never to have another screening test for colorectal [...]

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  • Feb 4 2015

    Two noteworthy breast cancer articles: women who turn down mammography…and questions about precision medicine

    Women’s magazines are often not the place to go for hard-hitting, evidence-based health care stories.  That’s not just my opinion.  That’s what I’ve heard through the years from many women who try to write such pieces for women’s magazines. But here’s an exception to that pattern:  Laura Beil’s piece in O, The Oprah Magazine, entitled, [...]

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  • Jan 11 2015

    Sunday summary of other noteworthy health care news

    This blog took a back-seat this week to the re-launch of our systematic, criteria-driven news story reviews.  But here’s come catch-up: Big-time conflict of interest problems at NBC News, as reported by the Washington Post, “Maria Shriver reported on a movie about Alzheimer’s for NBC. She didn’t mention she’s one of the film’s executive producers.” [...]

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  • Jan 5 2015

    Alan Cassels guest blog post: PSA test – good myths die hard

    Alan Cassels, who is a pharmaceutical policy researcher at the University of Victoria, British Columbia,  a journalist, and author of the books  “Seeking Sickness” and “The ABCs of Disease Mongering”,  sent in this unsolicited guest blog post.  Soon, we hope to solicit more pieces from Cassels. Matthew Tully wrote on the Indy Star website on December 16th, [...]

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  • Dec 22 2014

    Monday health news roundup: mostly gems, one dud

    I realize that I wrote about the following things on my Monday morning email digest, but if you don’t subscribe to that email, you didn’t see what we wrote.  (One solution:  sign up to subscribe to the emails.  It’s free.) Some things we saw that we really liked: Richard Smith’s feature in The BMJ,  “Are [...]

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  • Nov 21 2014

    More NBC TODAY Show men have more body parts probed during TV sweeps month

    Last November, it was Matt Lauer and Al Roker having their prostates probed on live TV via digital rectal exam. This November TV sweeps period – today to be precise – Willie Geist and Carson Daly had their testicles probed live on the air. The common denominator:  the prober was telegenic, media magnet Dr. David [...]

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  • Nov 20 2014

    Hockey fans treated to more than slap shot; how about prostate exam?

    Milwaukee media loved this Movember promotion. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: Milwaukee Admirals vice president of sales and marketing Mike Wojciechowski will undergo a prostate examination at Saturday night’s match against the Rockford Ice Hogs to raise awareness of men’s health issues…. The team is holding promotions during November to help raise money for the [...]

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  • 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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