Worse Than Damn Lies

Vancouver newspaper The Province reported today that Estratest, a combination hormone therapy for severe menopausal symptoms, increases the risk of breast cancer. The article cites a Nurses Health Study, with the report authored by lead researcher Rulla Tamimi.

The newspaper headline blares "Risk goes up 250% with drug". This is not actually true.

The text of the article accurately reports that the risk of developing breast cancer in post-menopausal women using the drug is nearly 2.5 times higher than the baseline risk, an assertion I confirmed in the original article appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This translates into a risk increase of 150%, a still alarming risk increase, but not 250%.

This provides further evidence of the need to be skeptical of what you read, and go to the source material where you can if the information is consequential.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

See also the math skills in the "Kelowna Lotto Scam" ( http://www.castanet.net/cgi-bin2/newNews/news_list.cgi?method=show_story&id=20410&query=search ) July 19, local newspapers. Scammers send cheque for nearly $5000, and ask the victims to return a cheque for the same amount. The scammer's cheque of course bounces, while the victim loses their money. The article concludes that the victim loses nearly $10,000, because the bank will want the scammer's money "back."