Read Original Story

Risk of death higher for prostate cancer patients with heart disease who use hormone therapy

Rating

5 Star

Risk of death higher for prostate cancer patients with heart disease who use hormone therapy

Our Review Summary

A new study published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association supports more conservative use of hormone therapy in men with advanced prostate cancer who also have heart disease risk factors. Although it has been known for some time that hormone therapy increases the risk of heart disease, the new study suggests that any benefit hormone therapy may provide from treating the prostate cancer may be cancelled out by harms from heart disease, particularly in men who are already at high risk. In these men, the study found an overall increase in mortality related to the hormone therapy. This study may change the risk-benefit equation for many men considering hormone therapy. What is clear is that heart disease risk must be a part of that decision.

This story, in only about 500 words, meets the basic standard for all of our criteria. It is comprehensive in listing the side effects and harms of hormone therapy, which are numerous and varied. It quotes multiple sources and explains the design of the current study.  It does a good job of quantifying the risk of heart disease by providing multiple ways of expressing that risk, both absolute and relative terms. The story also mentions the monthly cost of the therapy of $1,400 and that it is taken for 4 months on average.

The story could have been improved by providing more content on the pros and cons of the alternatives to hormone therapy such as radiation/brachytherapy and surgery.

But, overall, this was a good demonstration of how a story can address our ten criteria even in a relatively short piece.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The story mentions the monthly cost of the therapy of $1,400 and that it is taken for 4 months on average.

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

Satisfactory

The story does a good job of quantifying the risk of heart disease by providing multiple ways of expressing that risk, that is in both absolute and relative terms.

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

Satisfactory

The story clearly describes the side effects and harms of hormone therapy, which are numerous and varied.

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

Satisfactory

The story adequately describes the current study, including details about the subjects’ demographics, tumor characteristics, medical conditions and treatments to help readers better interpret the results.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

Because the story is clear that the new data concerns men with advanced prostate disease AND a history of heart disease, the story does not engage in disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story quotes two experts who provide valuable perspectives. The story is also clear to point out whether or not they were involved in the current study.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story also mentions radiation and surgery as alternatives, although it could have provided more content on the pros and cons of these options.

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

Satisfactory

It’s clear from the story that hormone therapy for prostate cancer is widely available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

Clearly hormone therapy for advanced prostate cancer is not a new idea but what is new is that the man’s history of heart disease should be taken into consideration before initiation of treatment.

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

Satisfactory

Because the story quotes multiple sources the reader can assume that it did not rely on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 10 of 10 Satisfactory

Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.