Health News Review
  • Jun 13 2014

    Sam’s Club serves up a Father’s Day prostate special. Such a deal!

    A physician wrote to me, concerned that she’s seen no news coverage questioning why Sam’s Club stores across the country are offering free PSA screenings for men 40 and over to “celebrate men’s health month.”  The events are apparently scheduled for this coming weekend, on June 14. But not everyone is impressed by the promotion.  [...]

    2 Comments
  • Jun 11 2014

    GE’s “Let’s Talk Mammo” blames media, downplays false positives

    Viewing false positives and ensuing anxiety as a potential harm of mammography is often scoffed at by those who promote mammography at all costs.  With a different view on that topic, here is a guest post by Mary Guiden, a communications manager and writer at the University of Washington and a former journalist who blogs [...]

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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 [...]

    4 Comments
  • Apr 3 2014

    Nuanced balance is not easily communicated on latest mammography study

    “A Systematic Assessment of Benefits and Risks to Guide Breast Cancer Screening Decisions” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week. It reached a conclusion that you might think few could disagree with – although on this topic one should never underestimate the potential for disagreement.  The authors wrote: “Mammography screening [...]

    5 Comments
  • Mar 11 2014

    “Simple” blood test to predict if you’ll be alive in 5 years? Please….

    The obsession that some in journalism have with “simple” blood tests – the unquestioning “test for everything” mentality that shines through in so many stories – is, itself, bloodcurdling. Yesterday we wrote about how CNN stated that an Alzheimer’s test had “astonishing accuracy” – when another solid news story reported that “the accuracy fell short [...]

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  • Feb 25 2014

    Thyroid cancer: “not an epidemic of disease but an epidemic of diagnosis”

    A paper in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, “Current Thyroid Cancer Trends in the United States,” addresses overdiagnosis of thyroid cancer.  The authors report a tripling of incidence over the past 40 years, but a stable death rate.  The authors write that nearly all of the increase was in less aggressive [...]

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  • Feb 5 2014

    When your doctor recommends a test: another “Less is More” example

    A thoughtful perspective piece in JAMA Internal Medicine‘s “Less is More” series is entitled, “A Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Scan:  Need to Know vs. Nice to Know.” The DXA scan is a test looking for signs of osteoporosis. The piece is written by a woman physician who had turned 50 and was now facing a recommendation [...]

    1 Comment
  • Jan 10 2014

    Mr. Balls, Senhor Testiculo, and a man named Cox

    In all the years I’ve written about promotions for various screening tests, I’ve seen some oddities. A porn star and the “Boob Bus Nurse Brigade” promoting mammography A fun-filled giant walk-through colon to promote colorectal cancer screening But those might pale in comparison with the various hairy testicle creatures roaming various regions of the earth. [...]

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  • Jan 8 2014

    “Our screening sacred cows”

    On The Guardian’s website in the UK, Dr. Margaret McCartney makes a clear, compelling case for balance in public information about screening in a piece entitled, “Patients deserve the truth: health screening can do more harm than good.” And she charges that the British National Health Service “fails to inform patients that health screening often [...]

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  • Jan 6 2014

    NBC vastly exaggerates the potential benefits of lung cancer screening

    The US Preventive Services Task Force recently released a new recommendation on screening for lung cancer. The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults ages 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should [...]

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