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Read Original Story

Exercise beneficial for colon cancer patients

Rating

2 Star

Exercise beneficial for colon cancer patients

Our Review Summary

This story reports on the results of a study that looked at physical activity among colon cancer survivors that found that those who engaged in moderate activity 4 or 5 times a week were 50% less likely to experience cancer recurrence or death over a seven year period. These results are intriguing and of great interest not only to colon cancer survivors. However, by no means is this study conclusive and this story does little to address the uncertainties.

The story provides estimates of benefit in relative terms only. We learn in the story that those who exercised more than six hours a week were 47% less likely to have a cancer occurence or die over the study period. But what does this mean? What are the absolute differences? The story should have provided more context for these numbers.

The story does not mention harms. Although excerise can be safe, is it appropriate to recommend increased physical activity to cancer patients, especially those undergoing chemotherapy? Also, although the story does mention that the study was funded by Pfizer, the story does not attempt to quote an independent source who could provide some perspective on the importance of these findings.

The story does describe the design of the study. However, the story should have clearly stated that this was an observational trial and was not randomized. As such, the reader cannot just assume cause and effect.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

Costs are also not applicable in this situation.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story provies estimates of benefit in relative terms only. We learn in the story that those who exercised more than six hours a week were 47% less likely to have a cancer recurrence or die over the study period. But what does this mean? What are the absolute differences? The story should have provided more context for these numbers.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention any potential harms of exercise, particluarly in those with cancer. Although it does state “Anyone considering changing or beginning treatment of any kind should consult with a physician,” this is not enough information on harms.

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

Satisfactory

The story does describe the design of the study. However, the story should have clearly stated that this was an observational trial and was not randomized. As such, the reader cannot just assume cause and effect.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

By accurately describing the incidence of colon cancer, the story does not engage in disease mongering.

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

Not Satisfactory

Although the story does mention that the study was funded by Pfizer, the story does not attempt to quote an independent source who could provide some perspective on the importance of these findings.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Applicable

Treatment alternatives is not applicable in this story because the obvious alternative to exercise is not exercising.

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

Not Applicable

Because this study included exercise of any type, it is not necessary to comment on the availability of treatment.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

Novelty of treatment is not applicable in this story.

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

Not Applicable

There is no way to know if the story relied on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 2 of 5 Satisfactory

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