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Read Original Story

Drugs Show Promise Slowing Advanced Melanoma


5 Star



Drugs Show Promise Slowing Advanced Melanoma

Our Review Summary

The story made strong, clear attempts to report in a restrained manner, using terms/phrases such as:

  • “notable progress”
  • “do not cure”
  • “might add two to several moths to expected lifespans”
  • “To be sure, more than half of patients with metastatic melanoma would not be helped all that much by either drug.”


Why This Matters

Stories about cancer – perhaps especially melanoma because of its treatment challenges – should balance promise with realistic context.  This story did a better job of that than the competitors’ efforts we reviewed.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


The significant costs of both drugs were mentioned.  Nice job.

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


Good job describing the benefits reported in the two drug studies. The two papers present a bewildering array of statistics. This story did a nice job distilling the information into a couple of very understandable sentences.

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


Good job explaining signifcant potential harms of both drugs – something competitors didn’t do at all.

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


Nice job, including linking (in the online version) to the papers in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease-mongering of melanoma.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story adequately explained the comparisons between both new drugs and the older dacarbazine chemo drug.

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


Vemurafenib was described as experimental and as “expected to be approved by the FDA within a few months.”  Ipilimumab was explained to be approved in March and already on the market.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The relative novelty of both drugs was well explained.

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


It’s clear that the story did not rely on a news release.

Total Score: 10 of 10 Satisfactory


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