Despite its brevity, this story about revised guidelines for cervical cancer screening does a few things well:
Having said that, the story fails to include viewpoints from any independent experts. It also fails to discuss costs.
Essentially, the story distilled the revised guidelines on the readers’ behalf. This is necessary for such a story. But it is not sufficient.
The story fails to indicate how much a Pap test costs, or whether the new guidelines would cost or save money.
The story reports that half of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have never had a Pap test, and another 10 percent hadn’t had one in five years. So it at least indirectly addressed benefit.
The story reports that many cervical abnormalities discovered by screening "usually go away on their own, and unnecessary treatment increases girls’ risk of premature labor years later."
The story does not describe the evidence upon which the guideline revisions are based. Its says only that ACOG "cited studies."
The story does nothing to exaggerate the prevalence or severity of cervical cancer.
The story essentially cites no sources other than the guidelines themselves.
An expert voice or two would have been useful to help people understand the meaning of the guidelines.
The story clearly compares the revised screening guidelines with the most recent ones. It also cites the link between women not being screened and getting cervical cancer.
The availability of Pap smear tests is not in question in this story.
No claim is made for the novelty of Pap tests.
The story does not draw from any of the press releases linked to these guidelines.