The authors believe relationships between drug companies and journalists might result in more favorable news stories, in a similar fashion to how industry funding of medical research is associated with more favorable research outcomes.
The authors were surprised by the widespread business of pharmaceutical and other healthcare businesses offering cash prizes and travel benefits to journalists. They state, "... we believe journalists accepting these prizes are clearly creating conflicts-of-interest for themselves" and calls for journalists to stop accepting these sponsored awards.
Schwartz says that the practice of medical journalism has evolved to blur the lines between traditional news reporting and producing advertising materials that mimic reporting. News corporations, which depend on advertising, need to be especially vigilant in maintaining a separation between their editorial mission and their advertising sales.
And here's another one from 2002:
Most commonly noted harms were false positive, false negative; few stories mentioned over-diagnosis
So an article from 2002 pointing out the media not mentioning over-diagnosis. And talking about we seem to be much more cautious about taking a pill compared to getting a test.
"Some clinicians will see our results as welcome evidence of the success of public health campaigns for widely recommended cancer screening tests," the researchers write. "OthersÉwill see disturbing evidence that these same campaigns have communicated a misleadingly simple and one-sided message Ð a message that discourages meaningful discussions about the use of these tests in settings when the recommendations are less clear (e.g., screening at younger ages, at advanced age, or for individuals with multiple comorbidities [illnesses]." The public is primed to believe that there is value in having any test that is marketed as being able to find early cancer, suggest the authors. They conclude, "The challenge now is to balance messages and reduce the public's risk for overtesting and overtreatment."
The findings are limited, the researchers caution, because they do not know whether the public's enthusiasm for early detection would change if the potential benefits and harms of screening were fully communicated and understood.
One about over-diagnosing melanoma:
The incidence of melanoma of the skin is rising faster than any other major cancer in the United States. In 2002—the most recent year of data—the incidence was about six times that in 1950, but some dermatologists suspect that this rise may reflect more skin biopsies, not more disease. Welch and colleagues noted that death rates from melanoma have remained stable since 1986; what has increased during that time, they report, is the rate of skin biopsies.