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Read Original Story

Statins tied to lower risk of fatal prostate cancer

Rating

5 Star

Categories

Statins tied to lower risk of fatal prostate cancer

Our Review Summary

It really isn’t that difficult to address our criteria, as this story demonstrates.

You can report on studies that suggest a benefit, but you can also then educate readers about why this may not be the case.

This one was a good model for how to report on research.

 

Why This Matters

Some journalists become statin-crazy. Statins have been touted as beneficial for people with dementia, arthritis, and pneumonia, just to name a few. More statin cheerleading could have happened with this story.  Instead, the reporter stopped to evaluate the evidence, ask questions, seek independent perspectives, and bring it all home to readers in an easily understandable way.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

Cost range estimates for statins are given in the story.

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

Satisfactory

Story explains that those with fatal cancers were 63% less likely to have ever taken a statin, but then goes on to explain that “it’s also possible that statins don’t prevent certain cancers at all.”

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

Satisfactory

Good job briefly mentioning statin side effects of muscle pain, nausea, gas, and liver dysfunction.

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

Satisfactory

The story is very clear about the potential holes in the study results and what it would take to actually prove that statins protect against aggressive cancer.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

No disease mongering here.  Ends with “Researchers agreed that until there’s clearer evidence for benefit, men with healthy hearts shouldn’t seek out statin prescriptions for the purpose of lowering their prostate cancer risks.”

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

Satisfactory

Important perspective added by independent expert from Duke who was not involved in the study.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

Final line of the story quotes an independent expert saying “that other strategies for lowering cholesterol — such as eating better and exercising regularly — are ways almost everyone can lower their disease risks in the meantime.”

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

Satisfactory

The story states that about one-quarter of adults age 45 and older in the U.S. take statins to lower cholesterol and protect against heart attacks.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

No inordinate claims of novelty were made.

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

Satisfactory

It’s clear that the story did not rely on a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 9 Satisfactory

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