Health News Review
  • Nov 10 2013

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

    … MIT said, “We found that the rate of injury and death adverse events has actually gone up. That’s the most striking thing.” Roker asked Samadi:  “Are there any downsides to this?  Any complications to screening?”  Samadi responded: “There are no complications to screening.  What we want people to know is, get your PSA baseline at the age of 40.” No complications?   The US Preventive Services Task Force …

  • Mar 29 2012

    In the BMJ: “What companies don’t tell you about screening” and “Routine testicular self examination: it’s time to stop”

    Dr. Margaret McCartney writes in the BMJ with a UK physician’s perspective on “What companies don’t tell you about screening,” questioning whether customers of private screening companies are given information to really understand what they are undertaking. Excerpts: The full page advertisements in the weekend press are hard to ignore. “Your quick and easy way to help prevent a stroke,” goes the headline, with “Did you know th…

  • Jun 21 2010

    NY Daily News begins second decade of evading evidence on PSA screening

    Headlines every day in the New York Daily News are luring men in as part of a mass prostate cancer screening campaign which the American Cancer Society not only does not endorse – its chief medical officer recommends against. Yet the paper brags that it is beginning its second decade of this non-evidence-based campaign. Sample headlines: • Doctors urge New York men to take advantage of free, city-wide PSA testing • What you don’t k…

  • 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 be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially l…

  • Feb 10 2011

    Pioneer Press publishes my call for balance in cancer screening messages

    …offs of harms and benefits (debits and credits) – and this was for 50-year old women, for whom the evidence of benefit is stronger than it is for those in their 40s. Welch explains, “The benefit of breast cancer screening is that some breast cancer deaths can be avoided. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen very often: most women destined to die from breast cancer, will still do so – even if they are regularly screened.̶…

  • Aug 26 2013

    TV station should stop promoting questionable screening tests at MN State Fair

    This is the third year I’ve written about questionable screening test promotions presented by Minneapolis TV station KARE-11 at the Minnesota State Fair. In 2011: What kind of informed decision-making place took place before Fair goers were lured in for prostate cancer screening? In 2012:  What kind of informed decision-making place took place before Fair goers were lured in for ultrasound of the heel to look for osteoporosis? It̵…

  • Jul 20 2012

    Screening tests a focus of this year’s Rocky Mountain Workshop on Evidence-Based Health Care

    …annual workshop but this will be my first. I’ve always heard wonderful things about it from past participants - journalists, policymakers and public health professionals. One of this year’s workshop themes will be screening tests – which any reader of this blog knows is a favorite topic of mine. The organizers state: The five-day workshop is an intense, hands-on learning experience that uses a small-group, problem-based approach…

  • Sep 9 2013

    Breast cancer and stroke screening stories that deserve careful attention

    Two screening test stories – both of which discuss the work of the US Preventive Services Task Force – that deserve much more analysis than I can afford to give right now. This is a casualty of our current funding plight.  As it is, in the first four hours that I’ve been at the computer today, I’ve received at least five requests from readers to review/analyze/comment on things they’ve sent me.  I can’t get to…

  • Mar 8 2012

    What Doctors Don’t Know & Journalists Don’t Convey About Screening May Harm Patients

    A paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week asked (and partially answered): “Do Physicians Understand Cancer Screening Statistics?” The authors – familiar names like Woloshin, Schwartz, Gigerenzer – are from the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. It’s a shame this paper isnR…

  • 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 screening programs. Their summary: Most participants …




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