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"Abdominal chemo boosts survival for ovarian cancer"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 04 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Some women with one of the deadliest forms of ovarian cancer are likely to live longer if they receive chemotherapy in an unconventional way, investigators have found.

Fewer than half of the 2,400 women in Canada diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year survive five years. About 80 per cent are diagnosed after ovarian cancer has spread because the early symptoms are mild.

One chemotherapy regimen boosted survival by an average of 16 months, Dr. Deborah Armstrong of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore and her colleagues found after studying 415 women....

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how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This story is framed as a hopeful medical advance and provides information on several of the review criteria. It provides the differences in survival time and time to relapse for women in the study. However, given that a significant proportion of women ultimately die from the disease, a more thorough examination of the poor quality of life for the intraperitoneal group midway through the six cycles, and several weeks after treatment is relevant to the discussion. Instead, the article ends in a single anecdotal story of a woman saying that the added side-effects are worth it to live to see her child two years older.

This emotional appeal is definitely compelling and perhaps caused the journalist to avoid this issue of cost because it seems vulgar to place a price on a mother living two more years. However, the SOGOC president hinted at the additional capacity that is still needed to make this procedure available to most Canadians.

Moreover, the story does not discuss other treatment options and survival rates in patients with ovarian cancer and the study design is not reported. As well, quantification of harms in terms of absolute risk increase is missing.

Overall, the story could have provided a more nuanced account of the pros and cons of this therapy instead of relying on brief statements from a couple of experts. Finally, it is clear that Dr. Rosen is not an author of the study, but his relation to the researchers or other possible conflicts of interest are not discussed. in the article.

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