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Mixed messages on breast cancer

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 22 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1530
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne, medical journalist
  1. New York

    Green light on mammography, amber on tamoxifen

    In covering controversies about breast cancer, the US media show bias in favour of screening, but are less enthusiastic about chemoprevention, a study has shown.

    Researchers looked at how US newspapers and television covered two stories—one about the detection of breast cancer by mammography and the other about chemoprevention by tamoxifen—and found striking differences.

    In January 1997 a National Institutes of Health consensus panel said that evidence did not support screening for women in their 40s and told women to decide for themselves whether or not to have the test. In March 1997, under political pressure, the National Cancer Institute changed course and recommended screening. …

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