In only 546 words, this story covered most of the bases – providing absolute data from a big trial, saying that the findings support earlier theories, but warning that this does not change earlier advice about HRT.
This story was judicious and cautious – two important characteristics in discussing hormone replacement therapy and colon cancer.
The cost of hormone replacement therapy is not in question.
Of the 34,433 HRT users, 193 were diagnosed with colon cancer during the study period; that compared with 151 cases among the 13,778 women who had never used hormone replacement.
HRT — with either estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen and progestin — was linked to a lower colon cancer risk even when the researchers accounted for the women’s age, weight, exercise levels and race.
The story did state, "a large U.S. government study in 2002 found that postmenopausal women given HRT had higher risks of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and blood clots than women given an inactive placebo." And we think that’s sufficient in this case.
Good job explaining the evidence, explaining that the findings"support the theory that estrogen offers some protection against colon cancer" but then stating clearly, "However, no one is recommending that women take HRT to ward off colon cancer." The story also discussed one physiological theory that has been forwarded to explain what COULD be happening to lower colon cancer risk. But no sensational claims or projections were made.
Not a problem in this story.
The only source cited was the lead author/researcher. We always wish stories would include an independent expert voice for additional perspective.
The story at least discussed other colon cancer risk factors:
Older age and African-American race are risk factors for colon cancer, and there is evidence linking obesity and a sedentary lifestyle to the disease as well.
The availability of hormone replacement therapy is not in question.
The story did a decent job putting the new study in context, explaining, "Some past studies have linked not only HRT, but also use of birth control pills, to a lower colon cancer risk"
There’s no evidence that this story relied on a news release.