We’ve seen a lot of bad health news stories, but this is one of the worst: Fox News posted a story under the headline, “U.S.-Developed Vaccine ‘Could Eliminate’ Breast Cancer.”
The story states the vaccine “could prevent breast cancer and save the lives of millions of women.”
Then it goes on to explain this was an experiment in six mice. SIX MICE!
Shame on them.
Many other news organizations are jumping on the six-mouse-story.
KMGH-TV Denver says “Vaccine May Cure Breast Cancer.”
A USA Today blog cites a Cleveland TV report under its headline “possible vaccine to prevent breast cancer.”
To talk about cures and prevention after an experiment in six mice is not sound health journalism. Such stories can be covered but should include early, clear and frequent caveats about the limitations of drawing any conclusions from animal research, much less in six mice.
Addendum on June 2: For a much more reasonable rendition of this story, see what Liz Szabo of USA Today wrote. Note that she also said 50 mice had been vaccinated – so Fox didn’t even get the numbers right!