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Media bias in favor of mammography seen in new analysis

A new analysis in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, “The Public’s Response to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s 2009 Recommendations on Mammography Screening,” included a content analysis of news stories and social media posts around the time of the USPSTF announcement. The authors report:

“Of the 233 newspaper articles, blog posts, and tweets coded, 51.9% were unsupportive, and only 17.6% were supportive. Most newspaper articles and blog posts expressed negative sentiment (55.0% and 66.2%, respectively)….The most common reasons mentioned for being unsupportive of the new recommendations were the belief that delaying screening would lead to later detection of more advanced breast cancer and subsequently more breast cancer-related deaths (22.5%) and the belief that the recommendations reflected government rationing of health care (21.9%).

These results are consistent with previous studies that suggest a media bias in favor of mammography screening.”

Also see an accompanying editorial by Task Force members Diana Petitti and Ned Calonge.

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