This story reports on the presentation of two abstracts at this week’s Society of Interventional Radiology meeting on cryoablation for kidney cancer. Cryoablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses flash freezing to destroy the tumor.
This short story presents little in the way of useful information to the consumer. It does not adequately describe the availability of the treatment, the strength of the available evidence to support its use, or any harms of the procedure. The story does not quantify the benefits of the treatment nor does it adquately describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives.
Furthermore, by using such terms as "breakthrough", "great success" and "promising", the story exaggerates what is and isn’t known about the procedure and glosses over the fact that the studies have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The story does not mention the cost of the procedure.
The story says the proceudre works "95 percent of the time" but does not explain what this means. Nor does it compare the effectiveness of the procedure compared to surgery.
The story does not mention any harms of the procedure.
The story does not adequately describe the strength of the available evidence. The story does not describe the current study or other studies like it. Nor does the story mention that the results were presented at a conference and have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. We have a primer on the pitfalls of reporting on conference papers.
The story does not engage in disease mongering.
The story only quotes one expert, the lead author of the current study. The story should have quoted multiple experts who could provide valuable perspective on the importance of these new results.
The story mentions surgery but does not mention other procedures, such as radiofrequency ablation. Nor does the story discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these alternatives.
The story does not comment about whether the procedure is widely avaiable or not. This is a concern given its novelty; access to the procedure is likely to be limited.
Clearly the procedure is new.
There is no way to know if the story relies on a press release as the sole source of information.