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Cancer cells killed with extreme cold by Tulane University surgeon

Rating

1 Star

Cancer cells killed with extreme cold by Tulane University surgeon

Our Review Summary

Cryotherapy is being investigated as an approach for early-stage kidney cancer. What trials are available show that the procedure is effective compared to more invasive options but long-term results are lacking. The procedure offers several advantages over open surgery, such as a shorter operating and recovery time, and more preservation of kidney tissue. These are important potential benefits especially in older patients or those who have compromised kidney function.

This story presents vivid detail of the procedure and describes it in almost terms akin to that of science fiction. However, it provides little in the way of balanced, informative content for the reader. It focuses only on how "cool" the technology is and barely provides anything in the way of educational value. While it is true that cryotherapy is an advance in the treatment of kidney cancer, there are always options and the story should give the reader more nuanced information.

The story presents little in the way of information on the downsides of cryotherapy.  The story mentions potential "mishaps" but what does that mean? How often do they occur? How often will the surgeon need to revert to open surgery? What are the long-term risks?

Finally, the story quotes no sources other than the surgeon who developed the technique. The story would have been much improved by including some perspectives from surgeons who do not have something to gain by what is said about the technology.  In the end, this story appears to be little more than an advertisement disguised as news.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story makes no mention of the cost of cryotherapy or how it compares to other available treatments.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not adequately quantify the benefit of cryosurgery, other than in reducing recovery time.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story mentions potential "mishaps" but what does that mean? How often do they occur? How often will the surgeon need to revert to open surgery? What are the long-term risks?

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

Not Satisfactory

The story spends a lot of time describing the technology of the procedure but does not explain the evidence to support its use. Have there been well-designed studies showing that it performs as well as conventional surgery?

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story adequately describes the prevalence and seriousness of early-stage kidney cancer. The story mentions that many of these cancers are found by accident, such as on an x-ray when looking for something else. The story could have described how it is unclear what would have happened to these tumors had they not been found this way. That is, some of them may never progress to cause a problem.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story quotes no sources other than the surgeon who developed the technique. The story would have been much improved by including some perspectives from surgeons who do not have something to gain by what is said about the technology.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions open surgery, it does nothing to describe the pros and cons of the options.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story makes no mention of how widely available cryotherapy is.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The story is very unclear about the novelty of cryosurgery, perhaps suggesting to some that it is newer than it actually is.

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

Not Applicable

There is no way to know if the story relied on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 1 of 9 Satisfactory

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