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Smart journalism scrutinizes cancer screening issues

Julia Belluz, on, wrote, “Older patients are getting screened way too often for cancer.”  She reported on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that concluded:

“A substantial proportion of the US population with limited life expectancy received prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening that is unlikely to provide net benefit. These results suggest that overscreening is common in both men and women, which not only increases health care expenditure but can lead to net patient harm.”

Bloomberg’s story, “Too Many Cancer Screenings Wasted on Those Facing Death,” was good although I don’t like that headline.

On MedPageToday, Charles Bankhead also did a good job with his story, “Cancer Screening in Seniors Yields Few Benefits.” Excerpt:

The results support the view that “cancer screening in the 21st century … is losing its luster,” said  Cary P. Gross, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, in an accompanying commentary. “Increasing evidence suggests that many modalities of cancer screening may be far less beneficial than first thought.”


Another smart piece of journalism was produced by blogger Laura Newman in her post,A Second Look at the European Randomised Study Of Screening For Prostate Cancer.” She wrote:

“Even though the results were covered by more than 100 news outlets internationally, absent from the many reports were critical questions about the trial that speak to the trustworthiness of the findings. Study limitations were also given short shrift by the trial investigators and the editorialists.”


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