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Fighting cancer

Rating

0 Star

Fighting cancer

Our Review Summary

46 words can’t do justice to a story that claims that a scanning technique "can be as effective in finding cancers as the more invasive, regular colonoscopy." A conclusion like that could have sweeping implications for health care, for health policy, for health economics – and demands more background.

ABC News could have at least referred viewers to its website for more information, but they didn’t.  

We have addressed the inherent problems in such brief stories and will continue to do so.  Most of our users who responded to our commentary on these problems agree with our stance.

We urge ABC to reconsider why it even devotes 15 seconds to such an incomplete story. 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There is no discussion of the cost of virtual colonoscopy.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Viewers are given no sense of the comparative benefits of the two screening approaches.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

It would seem that a discussion of potential harms would be important in comparing the two approaches to colon cancer screening, but this story didn’t include any such discussion.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

In 46 words, it is difficult to cover anything, much less the quality of the evidence.  The journal article upon which the story is based included the important caveat:  " A major limitation of our study was the lack of randomization. Thus, a potential exists for selection bias affecting the composition of the study population for each program, leading to different prevalences of advanced adenomas."

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

The story didn’t give any background on colon cancer, so this criterion is not applicable.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

No detail was given about the comparison of virtual colonoscopy with traditional colonoscopy – only the line that the former "can be as effective in finding cancers as the more invasive, regular colonoscopy."  A conclusion like that could have sweeping implications for health care, for health policy, for health economics – and demands more background.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Viewers are given no idea of the availability of virtual colonoscopy.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The brief story seems to assume that all viewers know what "virtual colonoscopy" is and whether it’s new, old, experimental or in widespread use.  We think this is a faulty assumption.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

It’s impossible to know what the story relied on – it only used 46 words.

Total Score: 0 of 8 Satisfactory

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