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Spotting Ovarian Cancer

Rating

3 Star

Spotting Ovarian Cancer

Our Review Summary

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. Only rarely is it found early enough to be effectively treated and few options exist for screening. This story reports on a campaign by a group of cancer advocates to educate women and their doctors about the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer. The hope is that if women recognize the symptoms they may be able to do something about it before the cancer progresses. Unfortunately, little is known about whether or not this kind of campaign will result in better outcomes for patients. The majority of women presenting with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer at all and may be subject to unnecessary testing or treatment.

By not exaggerating the seriousness or prevalence of ovarian cancer, this story avoids disease mongering. The story also quotes more than one expert and mentions one important harm: fear. Given that the symptoms are very vague, the vast majority of women with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer. Needlessly frightening them is a major concern. The story could have also mentioned other harms such as unnecessary tests or procedures that in of themselves could cause harm.

However, the does not comment on the lack of evidence demonstrating that the new recomendations will improve outcomes for patients. Nor does it adequately quantify the benefits or describe the risks/benefits of the available options for detecting ovarian cancer.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

Costs are also not applicable in this case.

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

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions the survival of early versus late stage ovarian cancer, this is not enough quantitative information.

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

Satisfactory

The story mentions fear as a harm. Given that the symptoms are very vague, the vast majority of women with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer. Needlessly frightening them is a major concern. The story could have also mentioned other harms such as unnecessary tests or procedures that also could cause harm.

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

Not Satisfactory

The does not comment on the lack of evidence demonstrating that the new recomendations will improve outcomes.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

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

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story mentions imaging studies and blood tests as alternatives to detecting ovarian cancer using symptoms. However, the story could have provided more information on the pros and cons of these alternatives.

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

Not Applicable

Because this story concerns a grouping of symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, this criterion is not applicable.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The story implies that the idea of a set of symptoms associated with ovarian cancer is new. In reality, the symptoms of ovarian cancer are well known. What is new is that a group of advocates decided to create 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: 4 of 7 Satisfactory

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