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

Statins May Lower Rates of Prostate Cancer Recurrence


5 Star

Statins May Lower Rates of Prostate Cancer Recurrence

Our Review Summary

A relatively clear breakdown of the unclear picture of whether statins may help in this specific area of research.


Why This Matters

One thing that made this story better than its WebMD competition was the expert source who put this study in the context of other studies that have been done and raised questions about statistical problems in the study (although we wish we’d heard more about this).


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


The story says statins can cost $5 a day or more.

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

Not Satisfactory

Only relative risk reduction figures were used.  So when the story said "30% less likely" – readers need to know "30% of what?"

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


The story explained that statins may cause liver problems and muscle damage, "although the likelihood of that is low."

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


The story raised ample questions about the quality of the evidence.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease mongering was evident.

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


The senior study author and one independent expert were quoted.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The alternative of NOT taking statins was raised:  "However, not every prostate cancer patient may need to take them."

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


The story states that "statins are among the most widely prescribed drugs in America."

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story explained that there has been prior conflicting research on this question.

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


Because of multiple sources quoted, it does not appear that the story relied on a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 10 Satisfactory


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