Read Original Story

Less Invasive Biopsies Gain Favor


2 Star

Less Invasive Biopsies Gain Favor

Our Review Summary

This story fails to deliver the stuff that people need to know about less-invasive vs. traditional biopsies, such as:

  • With which method are outcomes better?  How much better? 
  • For which uses was which method’s outcomes better? How much better?

Rather than lots of numbers about increased useage, why not give us something we can use? Something we need? Is there evidence to show that this trend is absolutely a good thing?  Are there unanswered questions remaining? 


Why This Matters

"Less invasive" and "minimally invasive" has not always meant better outcomes.  Show us the data!


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of costs – which is curious in a story describing the growth in use of less invasive biopsies, supposedly allowing for shorter hospital stays.

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

Not Satisfactory

This was perhaps the most glaring omission in the story.  No numbers were given to back up some vague, extravagant claims, such as: 

  • a more definitive diagnosis (how?  how often?)
  • shorter hospital stays (how much shorter?  with what consistency?)
  • more accurate (again, HOW? by what quantifiable measurement?)
  • more efficient and safe targeting of lesions (you get the picture:  no data or evidence provided)

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

Not Satisfactory

"Minimally invasive" does not equate to "no harm."  Yet no discussion of potential harms – either in traditional biopsies or in the minimally-invasive variety made it into the story.  No medical intervention with any level of invasiveness is without harm.  So potential harms must be discussed to make the story complete.

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

Not Satisfactory

Key questions about the evidence were not asked or answered, such as: 

  • Where were the people in the study treated?
  • Was this a representative sample of the US population? 
  • One MD quoted says "I doubt there is any variation to this in any major medical center."  Did the news team investigate this claim?
  • What about less-than-major medical centers? 
  • What about urban vs. rural, big city vs. smaller community hospitals?
  • and more

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

Not applicable because no diseases were discussed in any detail.

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


One independent expert was quoted, although not to provide any data-driven evidence.  And his quote, "I doubt there is variation to this in any major medical center" begs verification.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

No evidence-based comparison of biopsy techniques was provided – only the vague testimonials on behalf of the less invasive approach mentioned above. 

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

Not Satisfactory

The availability – and growing use of – less invasive biopsies is the whole point of the story. But the story didn’t clarify how broad the study sample was – and how representative of different health care settings large and small, urban and rural, etc.. For this information to be truly meaningful and helpful to readers all over the US, such scrutiny is vital.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story focused on the growth in use of – and therefore the relative lack of novelty anymore in – less invasive biopsies.

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


It does not appear that the story relied solely on a news release.

Total Score: 3 of 9 Satisfactory


Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.