It’s difficult to understand how you can report on a study and never include any actual data from the study – especially on a topic as controversial as this one is.
Many women are confused about whether or not they should start having mammograms in their 40s. Any new study on this topic deserves and demands more scrutiny than what was delivered here. It is noteworthy that many leading news organizations chose not to report on this study.
No discussion of costs of mammograms. Stories should not assume that all insurance companies will cover costs of mammograms for women in their 40s. Cost is an issue and can be addressed in just one additional line in a story.
Surprisingly, the story didn’t include a single statistic from the study it was reporting on.
The story did at least mention the risk of false positives and how this could affect whether women would still be inclined to get mammograms as they get older.
Does not discuss the limitations of the current study.
The article never pointed out that this was NOT a randomized controlled trial. The article also should have discussed:
No disease mongering.
The story did include helpful quotes from Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society.
However, for a story that mentions the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) three times, it failed to include any response from anyone on the USPSTF!
Interesting this story never mentioned that the study was comparing breast cancer tumors detected by patient/doctor to those detected by mammograms.
Not applicable. Mammograms are widely available (if you have access to the proper facility and a way to pay for it). So we don’t expect that the story directly address availability.
The story never clearly established what’s new or different or newsworthy about this latest study in a long string of studies on this topic. In fact, as already noted above, it never even mentioned that the study was comparing breast cancer tumors detected by patient/doctor to those detected by mammograms.
It does not appear that the story relied solely or largely on a news release.