Health News Review
  • Oct 19 2012

    Critics detect hype in “Bra Detects Breast Cancer” news

    …earlier and earlier in the process needs to go along with our ability to translate that into knowledge that will actually be lifesaving.  Otherwise we will see an increase in incidence, an additional rise in overdiagnosis and overtreatment, and perhaps no reduction in mortality – no additional lives saved. So a recognition of the role of this technology in the early detection field would be good.” Laura Nikolaides of NBCC responded: …

  • Oct 29 2012

    My Health Literacy Month blog series post – the potential for harm in the daily tsunami of health news

    … consumers should consider when they hear technologies such as robotic surgery promoted Unbalanced stories or media messages about various screening tests may be our most common theme Numerous articles on overdiagnosis and on overtreatment Shared decision-making is one of our most common themes In addition, we provide brief primers to help journalists and the general public understand what they read in medical studies.  Topics include: Surrogat…

  • Sep 9 2013

    Breast cancer and stroke screening stories that deserve careful attention

    …at the University of Oxford, dismissed the research. He said, “These authors tell us that randomised controlled trials underestimate the effects of mammography, but don’t say why. Nor do they say anything about overdiagnosis, overtreatment, lead time bias, and length biased sampling. Finding a tumour early is necessary but not sufficient for screening to save lives. It might just mean that screen detected cancers have longer to go in their natura…

  • Nov 4 2013

    The Economics & Politics of Drugs for Mild Hypertension

    …h.” I guess the editors think that the public health is served by not publicly debating the value of drugs for mild hypertension. Dr. Iona Heath’s excellent commentary, “Waste & Harm in the Treatment of Mild Hypertension: overtreatment, industry influence” published in May 2013 in the less influential and more contrarian JAMA Internal Medicine still did not ignite a widespread debate. In covering the story in this Health News Watchdog blog, G…

  • Jan 6 2014

    NBC vastly exaggerates the potential benefits of lung cancer screening

    …y and surgery. …(There is a) high number of false-positive findings requiring further evaluation with imaging or clinical follow-up, which were predominantly done for benign disease. … Overdiagnosis and consequent overtreatment is a concern in lung cancer screening. The 1% to 2.7% prevalence of unrecognized lung cancer suggests a preclinical pool of lung cancer in high-risk populations. The clinical significance of these tumors is unc…

  • Oct 9 2013

    Beware the polyp police

    …n good. The main issue has been the possibility of overdiagnosis. In the case of colon cancer, because most of us will have polyps and very few of us will die from them, screening is also liable to result in overdiagnosis and overtreatment. If and when polyps are found, people may live under a dark cloud, with a “pre-cancerous” label for the rest of their lives. They will certainly be more frequently reminded of their colon health because they wi…

  • Sep 9 2013

    When the word “cancer” corrupts thought and action. Labeling hurts. The words matter.

    …ted States, 1973-2002,” he and a co-author concluded that the increase was not a jump in the true occurrence of thyroid cancer, but rather, finding earlier abnormalities that might turn out to be benign. Overdiagnosis.  Overtreatment.  Impact on treatment decisions.  Yes, the wording matters. ——————– Tweet Follow us on Twitter: a…

  • Apr 25 2013

    Two noteworthy breast cancer stories: “The Feel-Good War” and guidelines didn’t change practice

    … breast cancer at 35? It turns out I did.” But a few paragraphs later, she updates readers: “Sixteen years later, my thinking has changed. As study after study revealed the limits of screening — and the dangers of overtreatment — a thought niggled at my consciousness. How much had my mammogram really mattered? Would the outcome have been the same had I bumped into the cancer on my own years later? It’s hard to argue with a good result…

  • Sep 26 2012

    Noteworthy health care documentaries

    The documentary, Money & Medicine, aired on PBS last night.  The announcement on the PBS website states: Money & Medicine investigates the dangers the nation faces from runaway health care spending as well as the dangers patients face from over-diagnosis and over-treatment. In addition to illuminating the waste and overtreatment that pervade our medical system, Money & Medicine explores promising ways to reduce health care expenditur…

  • Jan 15 2013

    First person health care stories not always narcissism – and can be a public service

    …bout first-person health care journalism: “When it’s done right, and in the right context, first person treatment stories can be gold. Laurence Stains did a great piece called ‘I Want My Prostate Back‘ about overtreatment of prostate cancer.” In Boston, WBUR’s Martha Bebinger has reported several pieces recently about her search for a quality colonoscopy.  Her latest,  “Ask About The Quality Of Your Colonoscopy…

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