Kudos to Nancy Snyderman for some of her mammography explanations this week

I am a frequent critic of TV health news – and especially of much of this week’s TV coverage of the US Preventive Services Task Force mammography recommendations. So I want to make special note this week of some of the fine work by Dr. Nancy Snyderman on this issue. I’ve seen several examples where she offered more explanation and context than her network TV competitors.

Case in point: this clip on yesterday’s NBC Today Show.

In it, Snyderman said: “What we as a population were unwilling to accept – which has become very apparent in the last 48 hours – is that we didn’t like the message.” Yet she emphasized that the message was what the science shows.

She said HHS secretary Sebelius threw the task force under the bus and oversimplified the message by telling women “keep doing what you’re doing.”

She said “emotion, anecdote, lobbying, advocacy groups, doctors and patients” led to a political reversal.

She said “This is the role of scientists to take the emotion out of the science. That was their charge – look at the hard numbers and give recommendations back.”

While she editorialized on Sebelius, her even-handed comments on the work of the task force stood in sharp contrast to some of what was broadcast on ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox.

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Laura Nikolaides

November 23, 2009 at 10:39 am

We at the National Breast Cancer Coalition agree that Dr. Nancy Snyderman did an excellent job of covering the USPSTF breast cancer screening recommendations this past week. She covered the issue in a fair, balanced, and appropriate manner and continued throughout the week to keep the focus on the science and evidence, and on what is best for women’s health.
We have information and tips on discussing breast cancer with the media at http://takeaction.stopbreastcancer.org/TalkMedia.
Laura Nikolaides
Research Manager
National Breast Cancer Coalition