NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -
Read Original Story

Regular Pap smear is as effective as ThinPrep


5 Star

Regular Pap smear is as effective as ThinPrep

Our Review Summary

In less than 350 words, this story did a fine job of summarizing a study that one ob-gyn noted "should serve as a cautionary tale that just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s better."

One criticism:   the story did not cite anything from an editorial accompanying the study in JAMA – an editorial that gave good perspective. 

Nonethless, it was a good job in a limited space. 


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


We’ll give the story a satisfactory score on this criterion because it acknowledged that the ThinPrep is "more expensive."  But we wish it had provided the actual cost comparison.

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


The story delivered the key line from one ob-gyn observer, that the study "should serve as a cautionary tale that just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s better. "

But the story also included the lead author’s reminder that ThinPrep samples could be used to test for human papillomavirus, which causes nearly all cervical cancers. And the rate at which tests needed to be done again was one-third lower with the ThinPrep than with conventional Pap smears.

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


The story nicely summarized that the authors of the study in JAMA noted that that "because of a lack of well-designed comparative studies, convincing evidence to determine the superiority of either method" didn’t exist. And that it was based on a raondomized trial of 90,000 Dutch women screened with either ThinPrep or a conventional Pap smear.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


There was no disease mongering in the story.

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


The story included multiple expert perspectives.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


In a very concise article, the story did a good job comparing the ThinPrep and convention pap smear tests.

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


The story leads with the fact that the ThinPrep test dominates the market.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

The story was about efficacy of cervical cancer screening tests, so this criterion is not really applicable in this case.

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


It is clear that the story did not rely on a news release.

Total Score: 8 of 8 Satisfactory


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