Health News Review
  • 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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  • Dec 10 2013

    The potential harms of screening – seen this time in lung cancer screening

    It is still a difficult concept for many people to grasp:  how can there be harms from screening for cancer? Maybe the study published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, “Overdiagnosis in Low-Dose Computed Tomography Screening for Lung Cancer,” will make some of the potential harms a little more clear. The analysis shows that nearly [...]

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  • Dec 4 2013

    Guys Night Out: big-screen football, free sandwiches and prostate screenings

    KSBW-TV in Monterey found it newsworthy to copy a local hospital’s news release and to promote its “Guys Night Out” prostate screening event on the night the San Francisco 49ers played the Washington Redskins. The news release from the hospital’s marketing department says “The event is open to men 45-70 who have not been diagnosed [...]

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  • Nov 23 2013

    My interview on CBC Radio regarding network TV prostate/breast CA screenings

    The CBC Radio program, “White Coat, Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldman,” asked me to join them this week to discuss some issues surrounding journalists promoting cancer screening tests on network television. Out of a 30 minute program, the segment with my interview appears between 10:22 and 20:30.  Note:  The audio begins automatically.  I don’t [...]

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  • Nov 12 2013

    There’s another side to the Amy Robach breast cancer story

    First, I sincerely wish ABC’s Amy Robach good health and good outcomes after she chose to have a mammogram on the air and, after it showed that she had cancer, further chose to have bilateral mastectomy surgery. These are difficult choices and difficult times for her. But almost every single one of the hundreds of [...]

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  • Nov 10 2013

    NBC races the clock in a race to the bottom with anchormen & prostate cancer screening promotion

    It was not the peacock’s finest hour. Or even their finest 34 seconds. Last week, NBC Today show anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker had digital rectal exams (out of view, behind closed doors) on live TV.  Lauer and the network announced that “The live event is part of No-Shave November, TODAY’s initiative to raise [...]

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  • Oct 22 2013

    When doctors don’t discuss harms of screening tests with patients

    Another important paper in the JAMA Internal Medicine “Less is More” series. “Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment: Evaluation of What Physicians Tell Their Patients About Screening Harms,” is by one of my risk communication gurus, Gerd Gigerenzer and colleague Odette Wegwarth. They surveyed 317 US men and women aged 50-69 years, a population with the highest exposure to [...]

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  • Oct 16 2013

    Atlanta TV station has newsmen promoting prostate cancer screening

    We interrupt breast cancer awareness month messages to bring you some prostate cancer awareness news. After we wrote about problems with a Buffalo prostate cancer screening promotion, reader Ken Leebow of Atlanta wrote to me about what the NBC station in Atlanta has been doing. What is particularly problematic in this campaign is that journalists [...]

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  • Oct 15 2013

    Shuffle off to Buffalo for another questionable prostate screening promotion

    By now, any health care consumer with a pulse knows about the tradeoffs involved in prostate cancer screening.  It must have reached most corners of the US that mass prostate cancer screening is not recommended by: the US Preventive Services Task Force the American College of Physicians: “Doctors should inform men aged 50 to 69 [...]

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