CBS’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton started with the numbers: Pancreatic cancer kills three-quarters of the people diagnosed with it within a year, and 95 percent within five years. But then she stopped. In discussing a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins that is testing a new immune therapy, she gave absolutely no data on what’s been seen so far: nothing on how many people tested, for how long, with what results, with what side effects. Nothing. Just gee whiz. And one positive personal anecdote, for which viewers are given no basis to know if it’s a representative story of what’s been seen so far or not.
Pancreatic cancer is an awful disease. But if this is going to be the standard for what gets reported – and how – viewers are not going to learn very much about the true progress and pitfalls of research.