Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making sense of the studies: Aspirin and more

Nearly every day I come across some sort of headline reporting research news about breast cancer. Over the past six weeks there have been headlines about mangoes and turmeric among others.

When I worked in local news, it was pretty accepted practice to report study results without a whole lot of context. You can't get in much trouble saying, "The New England Journal of medicine on and so forth."

Since Loop is designed for the breast cancer community we need to be a little more careful. If a study says exercise and vegetables are good for you, well, then I can pass it along and let the reader and her doctor put it into context.

Not everything is so simple. In face turmeric is not suggested during chemotherapy, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering's website.  Mango on the other hand seems like a pretty tasty and reasonable thing to add to a diet, though I should add neither Deb nor Suzanne are any kind of medical professionals. (Suzanne actually used to try to get out of health stories when she was a reporter, to be honest.)

Which brings us to this week's headlines about aspirin. It is very easy to get excited about the prospect that aspirin could cut the risk of metastasis for breast cancer survivors. Almost too good to be true. And if I were producing a local newscast for a general audience, I would have no problem repeating the study on the air.

For cancer patients however, the story about aspirin is no passing fancy. As always, the best bet in to talk to your doctor, and I bet a lot of oncologists will be peppered with questions about this.

Meanwhile however, peruse this article from the Los Angeles Times. I think it does a very good job of putting the tantalizing research results into a cautious context.

Here is another article with a good q&a:,2933,586443,00.html

Update: U.S. News and World Report weighs in: 


No comments:

Post a Comment