Also longer than the competing AP and USA Today stories, coming in at more than 1,000 words – an increasingly rarer but appreciated treat in journalism these days.
The story makes a good point missing from the USA Today article – that many women who are premenopausal at the time of diagnosis may pass through menopause by the time they finish tamoxifen or experience early menopause as a result of chemotherapy. This is an important point in trying to weigh how beneficial the extra treatment really is for premenopausal women.
Scientific evidence should be the basis of decision-making in breast cancer treatment; good practice can only follow good science, and this study adds to the body of treatment evidence.
Description of benefits was adequate. Absolute differences between the treatment groups was provided – although AP’s story broke it down a little bit farther and better for lay readers with this line: “In absolute terms, continuing on tamoxifen kept three additional women out of every 100 from dying of brest cancer within five to 14 years from when their disease was diagnosed.”
The story quantified the risk of endometrial cancer and pulmonary blood clots.
This was the only one of the three stories that we reviewed that picked up on the high dropout rate in the study – an important addition:
“In the Atlas trial, it appears that roughly 40 percent of the patients assigned to take tamoxifen for the additional five years stopped prematurely.”
Clearly, evenly presented and referenced.
One observation: as the story noted, about 40% of patients assigned to take tamoxifen stopped prematurely. This could have an impact on the results of this study and we would like to have seen more discussion about limitations of the results.
No evidence of disease-mongering.
Excellent use of sources. A variety of researchers, clinicians, and a patient were represented.
The story clearly stated that AstraZeneca, which makes a form of tamoxifen, helped finance the study.
This comparison was brief but adequate.
The story indicates the drug has been available, studied, and inexpensive.
This criterion was adequately addressed as the new additional information provided by this study was made clear.
It is clear that this story did not rely on a news release.