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New Ways to Detect Ovarian Cancer

Rating

1 Star

New Ways to Detect Ovarian Cancer

Our Review Summary

Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to find and treat early. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that there are no good screening tests and that the symptoms are vague and easily attributed to other causes. This story reports on new recommendations being issued by a group of cancer advocates to make women aware of the symptoms and urge them to get treatment if these symptoms come on suddenly and persist for two weeks or more. This story does accurately describe the symptoms and explains why this may be important, but does very little to actually inform the viewer.

The story does not comment on the strength of the available evidence to support whether early intervention in women with this combination of symptoms results in better outcomes. The story does not comment on potential harms of the recommendations. The story should have discussed the very high numbers of women who will have these symptoms but not have ovarian cancer. Given that these symptoms are very vague, this is a big concern.

The story continually refers to the combination of symptoms as if it is truly "new" information. The truth is, these symptoms have been known for a long time. What is novel is that advocacy groups have formalized recommendations on evaluating women with these symptoms and seemed to have organized a campaign to raise awareness.

Finally, although the story mentions the survival rate for early versus late stage ovarian cancer, this is not adequate information on the benefit of treatment. The story should have provided more information on what percentage of women with these symptoms will indeed have ovarian cancer and what percentage will not. Although it may not yet be known what the benefit is of intervening in women with these symptoms, the story could have commented on this.

 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

For the same reasons above, costs are also not applicable. However, the costs of the diagnostic tests that would occur as a result of these recommendations could have been acknowledged.

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

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions the survival rate for early versus late stage ovarian cancer, this is not adequate information on the benefit of treatment. The story should have provided more information on what percentage of women with these symptoms will indeed have ovarian cancer and what percentage will not. Although it may not yet be known what the benefit is of intervening in women with these symptoms, the story could have commented on this.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not comment on potential harms of the recommendations. The story should have discussed the very high numbers of women who will have these symptoms but not have ovarian cancer. Given that these symptoms are very vague, this is a big concern.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not comment on the strength of the available evidence to support whether early intervention in women with this combination of symptoms results in better outcomes.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not exaggerate the prevalence or seriousness of ovarian cancer.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not quote any experts other than the medical correspondent. Other clinicians or experts could have been very valuable in explaining how these new recommendations fit with existing clinical practice.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions in passing a simple exam, ultrasound and a blood test as alternatives, this is not enough information.

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

Not Applicable

Because this story concerns a grouping of symptoms as a sign of ovarian cancer, availability of treatment is not applicable in this case.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The story continually refers to the combination of symptoms as if it is truly "new" information. The truth is, these symptoms have been known for a long time. What is novel is that advocacy groups have formalized recommendations on evaluating women with these symptoms and seemed to have organized a campaign to raise awareness.

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: 1 of 7 Satisfactory

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