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Multivitamin and prostate cancer link studied

Rating

5 Star

Multivitamin and prostate cancer link studied

Our Review Summary

The story reports new findings which suggest a link between heavy multivitamin usage (defined as more than 7 doses per week) and advanced types of prostate cancer.  The story makes it clear that the new findings don't prove this link because of the study design (observational vs. randomized controlled trial).  Other criteria that were met include describing benefits in absolute terms, having multiple sources, and mentioning alternatives to heavy multivitamin use (assuming this is the treatment). 

There is no background information on advanced prostate cancer given in the story.  It would be helpful for viewers to know at least a relative estimate of how many men die of prostate cancer each year to get a sense for how big a problem this is or isn't.

Overall, though, this was a solid report – and in only 263 words. 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

The story does not mention costs of multivitamins, but it's safe to assume this is common knowledge.  

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

Satisfactory

The story provides absolute rates of excess numbers of deaths expected with heavy vitamin use. 

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

Satisfactory

If treatment is considered to be heavy multivitamin use, harms associated with this treatment are discussed, namely an increased risk of advanced types of prostate cancers.  Other harms noted with specific vitamins such as A and E are also mentioned. 

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

Satisfactory

The article tells readers this is not a randomized controlled trial, where half the group would be randomly assigned to an intervention and half would not.  It provides some context for interpreting the results, e.g. the study was not designed to prove vitamins affect cancer risk. 

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

No overt disease-mongering.

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

Satisfactory

The story does provide two independent sources of information. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

If treatment is considered to be heavy multivitamin use, alternative options could be considered to be taking recommended doses of multivitamins and/or taking no multivitamins at all, which are discussed. 

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

Satisfactory

The article states that "studies show that 35% of Americans take vitamins" so we get a good feel for how available they are. 

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

The story does not mention whether heavy vitamin use is new or not, but this doesn't seem applicable, given that heavy vitamin use isn't a standard treatment in the first place. 

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

Satisfactory

The story turned to two different sources from two different studies, so it is unlikely that it relied solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 8 of 8 Satisfactory

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