Media's Cancer Reporting Confuses Patients

Published: Wednesday, Mar 09, 2011
A North Carolina State University study takes the US media to task for writing articles on cancer that use ambiguous terms and increase patients’ uncertainty. A review of 800 cancer-related news articles on Google News, Yahoo! News,, and found that nearly two-thirds contained terminology conveying probability rather than certainty about prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. As examples, the researchers cited the phrases “There is no evidence” and “it may even worsen patient’s chances.” The authors said the study is noteworthy because >100 million Americans use the Internet to find health information.

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