Although the article presents some interesting new findings regarding mammogram for women in their 40s, the article lacks a strong critical analysis to point out the weaknesses with the current study.
Since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published their revised recommendations in November of 2009, many women between the ages of 40-49 have continued to be confused about what the evidence shows and what they should do.
News organizations that continue to report each new study on one side of the debate or the other should try to dedicate a considerable chunk of the story to an info-graphic or fact box to guide shared decision-making.
No discussion of costs regarding mammograms. Stories should not assume that every woman in the 40s who chooses to get a mammogram will have this covered by their insurance.
We’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt for presenting lots of numbers – in contrast with the WebMD story that included NONE.
However, more critical analysis would have been appreciated.
The story did discuss why mammography in younger women is not always beneficial and described several of the harms that the US Preventive Services Task Force discussed.
The article never pointed out that this was NOT a randomized controlled trial. The article also should have discussed:
No disease mongering.
The article did interview the chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
In allowing Dr. Virginia Moyer of the USPSTF to talk about the need for women “to make their own decision,” the story at least implies that declining screening is a choice. It could have been far more overt, but we’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt that the alternative choice was at least implied.
Not applicable. Availability of mammograms is not in question although access to care is dependent upon many factors including distance to facility with instrument, insurance coverage, etc.
The story at least acknowledged some past studies in the ongoing debate about “the best age to start routine mammograms and the best screening interval.”
It appears that the story did not rely solely on a news release.