Read Original Story

New Test for Colon Cancer Under Development


1 Star

New Test for Colon Cancer Under Development

Our Review Summary

A journalist wrote us this week asking, "What’s up with HealthDay and its news release rehashes? This is important because many mainstream media outlets and consumer health websites publish HealthDay stories." We can’t answer that but we wish it would change.


Why This Matters

There are active debates about the competing technologies for colon cancer screening and what evidence is best for any of them.  This story didn’t touch on those debates, choosing to take only what the Mayo Clinic news release gave them.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of costs. 

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

Not Satisfactory

The story did an adequate job of quantifying the benefits seen in two trials, but didn’t comment on the small sample size in one study and didn’t disclose the size of the sample studied in the other.

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

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of false positives with this method.

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

Not Satisfactory

One study was in 10 people.  No comment on the limitations of drawing conclusions from such a small sample.  We weren’t told how many people were in the other study.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No overt disease-mongering.

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

Not Satisfactory

Only the Mayo Clinic researcher quoted in the news release is quoted in the story.  Given all of the competing approaches to colon cancer screening, someone independent of this work needed to comment to put this research into perspective.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

No comparison with colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy or with iFOBT or immunochemical fecal occult blood tests.

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

Not Satisfactory

At one point the story says the test is "under development."  In another place it says the methods "were developed."  No where is it clear if this is a method that is currently available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The story didn’t establish the true novelty of the approach. 

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

Not Satisfactory

All information and quotes appear to be drawn from a Mayo Clinic news release.  There is no sign of any independent reporting.

Total Score: 1 of 10 Satisfactory


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