Poor media coverage of cancer research: are blogs one answer?

Kathy Redmond wrote an editorial in the November isssue of Nature Clinical Practice Oncology about the media coverage of cancer. She argues that this coverage is frequently of poor quality, reinforcing the myth of cancer as an automatic death sentence and the overemphasis on stories about wonder cures.

To improve this situation, the European School of Oncology – where Kathy Redmond is coordinator of the media program – last year started an annual Best Cancer Reporter Award. And two days ago, ESO organized a media forum entitled Cancer: Time for a Reality Check in Rome. And ESO is partnering with Nature Clinical Practice Oncology to collect summaries of important research findings to journalists.

For those of us working in cancer research, it is important to remember to communicate our research findings not only in journal articles and scientific meetings. We probably have to do a much better job in talking to the media and the public. One example would be to start a blog about a particular area of cancer research or cancer patient care. The number of quality blogs in this area could be much higher, and some blogs even had to close down.

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2 Responses to Poor media coverage of cancer research: are blogs one answer?

  1. Gregory Pawelski says:

    I couldn’t agree more that better communication is important with cancer research findings, and “independent” blogs are one place to present that communication. Many journal articles are biased in favor of their sponsors’ products. A 2003 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that clinical studies funded by drug companies are three times more likely to conclude that the sponsor’s drug is the treatment of choice, compared to studies of the same drug that were not commercially funded. The disturbing conclusion is that most of the evidence in what doctors believe to be “evidence-based medicine” is more infomercial than dispassionate science.

  2. Sergio Stagnaro says:

    In my opinion, there are two dimensions on which we can operate against cancer: the first is Primary Prevention, and the second the treatment. I agree completely with Gregory Pawelski, stating that “Many journal articles are biased in favor of their sponsors’ products”. In addition, beside EBM does it really exsist also Single Patient Based Medicine (Ask to Google), based on the perfect preliminary knowledge of individual’s constitutions (ibidem). Finally, in the war against malignancy, we have to ask ourselves the fundamental question: As regards oncogenesis, do it really exsist or NOT a demarcation line, recognized easily at the bedside, thus on very large scale, that separate since birth subjects, who may be involved by cancer, solid or liquid, from those who will surely not suffer from malignancy, independent of environmental risk factors?