Health News Review
  • Jun 27 2014

    The long list of warnings about community screening programs is getting longer

    Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society has said: “Many of these free screening things are designed more to get patients for hospitals and clinics and doctors than they are to benefit the patients. That’s a huge ethical issue that needs to be addressed.” Three authors, including the executive vice president [...]

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  • Jun 25 2014

    Which journalists reported an extra dimension on the 3-D mammography story?

    Faithful to the latest journal article, many news organizations dutifully reported what they were told by authors of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination with Digital Mammography.“  The list of stories that resorted to sensational language – breakthrough, game-changer, best way of detection, [...]

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  • 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.  [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • 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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