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Interpretation– the hardestthing to do                Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Why I chose this topic? News agenda Web 24/ No specialties Fast reactions Several channels At the very core of professiona...
Structure 1) Example of a research and its interpretation  – CT scan 2) Other examples of the difficulty of interpretation...
Some frames for this presentation I am responsible for communications at the Cancer Society of Finland, one of the biggest...
Science journalism is now topical President of the Finnish Association of Science Journalists and Editors (1st term, elect...
Case 1: CT scans and risk of cancer Radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood could triple the risk of leukaemia and b...
Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Researchers conclude: Use of CT scans in children to deliver cumulative doses of about 50 mGy might almost triple the risk...
Is this news?                Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Is this news – science journalism? Yes, it is a new finding Confirms earlier findings Clinical treatments in childhood sho...
There is a lot medical research available Prominent science and medical publishers have efficient press services – a lot o...
Why are there more cancer cases? More brain tumours More breast cancers after 1987 in Finland More prostate cancer? Why so...
Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Better machines, aging populations This propably explains why there are more tumours People live longer But what about oth...
PSA tests and prostate cancer                    Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Screening and breast cancer                    Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Journalistic traps  Wrong narratives  In the UK BBC reported 9 June about a woman who was  terminally ill and treated hers...
Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
Satu Lipponen   11.6.2012
More about this theme/contacts   Satu Lipponen, toim. Syöpä,   media & julkisuus (Helsinki   2010)   Tupakkayhtiöt –elokuv...
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Satu Lipponen

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Satu Lipponen

  1. 1. Interpretation– the hardestthing to do Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  2. 2. Why I chose this topic? News agenda Web 24/ No specialties Fast reactions Several channels At the very core of professionalism Every journalist should know their basic science Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  3. 3. Structure 1) Example of a research and its interpretation – CT scan 2) Other examples of the difficulty of interpretation of statistics – Brain tumours, prostate cancer, breast cancer 3) Journalistic habits sometimes blur interpretation – Wrong narratives – Faulty reasoning and exaggeration Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  4. 4. Some frames for this presentation I am responsible for communications at the Cancer Society of Finland, one of the biggest public health organisations in Finland We provide information to patients, public, journalists, experts, decision-makers, those to be screened, health promotion messages to specific groups Syöpä-Cancer Magazine 6 times a year in 2 languages, circulation about 140 000 copies – managing editor Focus Tutkimus – editor-in-chief Cancer.fi with around 80 000 individual visitors per month Science journalism: Cancer Foundation and the Finnish Cancer Registry Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  5. 5. Science journalism is now topical President of the Finnish Association of Science Journalists and Editors (1st term, elected annually) President of the 8th World Conference of Science Journalists, Helsinki 24-26 June, 2013 Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  6. 6. Case 1: CT scans and risk of cancer Radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood could triple the risk of leukaemia and brain cancer Although CT scans are very useful clinically, potential cancer risks exist from associated ionising radiation, in particular for children who are more radiosensitive than adults. Researchers aimed to assess the excess risk of leukaemia and brain tumours after CT scans in a cohort of children and young adults. Published online in Lancet Oncology 7 June Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
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  8. 8. Researchers conclude: Use of CT scans in children to deliver cumulative doses of about 50 mGy might almost triple the risk of leukaemia and doses of about 60 mGy might triple the risk of brain cancer. Because these cancers are relatively rare, the cumulative absolute risks are small: in the 10 years after the first scan for patients younger than 10 years, one excess case of leukaemia and one excess case of brain tumour per 10 000 head CT scans is estimated to occur. Nevertheless, although clinical benefits should outweigh the small absolute risks, radiation doses from CT scans ought to be kept as low as possible and alternative procedures, which do not involve ionising radiation, should be considered if appropriate. Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  9. 9. Is this news? Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  10. 10. Is this news – science journalism? Yes, it is a new finding Confirms earlier findings Clinical treatments in childhood should be considered carefully Long term effects of treatments are important How can people assess the meaning of this in their own life? Likely to influence on medical practices/ pros and cons of CT Does it make parents suspicious for necessary scans? Is there extra worry/ the scale is small? In Finland this did not make big news Why? Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  11. 11. There is a lot medical research available Prominent science and medical publishers have efficient press services – a lot of information Medical science is especially dominated by publications – but news agenda is mainly about politics, sports, finances and entertainment – rarely science Pharmaceutical industry - professionals in communication Even if you are excited, your boss is not How meaningful this news is to the public? ”Significant that 50 mGy might almost triple the risk of leukaemia and doses of about 60 mGy might triple the risk of brain cancer”, risks are higher than expected Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  12. 12. Why are there more cancer cases? More brain tumours More breast cancers after 1987 in Finland More prostate cancer? Why some cancers are declining? Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
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  14. 14. Better machines, aging populations This propably explains why there are more tumours People live longer But what about other reasons? Politics of medicine Who is setting the agenda of media There is also lobbying – commercial interests combine with advocacy groups Cancer screenings are good example Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  15. 15. PSA tests and prostate cancer Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  16. 16. Screening and breast cancer Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
  17. 17. Journalistic traps Wrong narratives In the UK BBC reported 9 June about a woman who was terminally ill and treated herself with vitamin C therapy, reflexology, aromatherapy and acupuncture, alongside further chemotherapy Now several well known people are supporting her on the battle that doctors are wrong Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012
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  22. 22. More about this theme/contacts Satu Lipponen, toim. Syöpä, media & julkisuus (Helsinki 2010) Tupakkayhtiöt –elokuvien kummit (Helsinki 2008)www.cancer.fi>järjestö>julkaisut>raportitsatu.lipponen@cancer.fi@Lipponen5Thank you! Satu Lipponen 11.6.2012

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