Tag Archives: cancer

AHCJ announces 2022 National Health Cancer Reporting Fellows

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Ten journalists have been selected to participate in AHCJ’s National Cancer Reporting Fellowship.

Supported by the Leona and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the fellowship strives to increase reporters, editors and producers’ understanding of the scientific process and scientific research, improve their ability to interpret and accurately report on complex scientific findings, and provide insight into the work of cancer researchers.

The three-day virtual event will be held Feb. 1 -3, 2022, and will feature experts from the National Institutes of Health. A wide range of topics will be explored, including a historical overview of 50 years of cancer research and treatment; clinical trials; how cancer screenings have been affected by the pandemic; and deep dives into immunotherapy, the cost of drugs and treatment and new directions in cancer treatment and research.

The 2022 fellows are:

  • Penny Dickerson (@pennydickersonw) a Jacksonville, Florida-based independent journalist
  • Sharon Donovan a New Orleans-based independent journalist
  • Rosa Furneaux (@rosafurneaux), global health investigative reporter for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
  • Carla K. Johnson (@CarlaKJohnson), medical writer for the Associated Press
  • Alison Kanski (@alisonkanski), reporter for Precision Oncology News
  • Alla Katsnelson (@lalakat) a Northampton, Massachusetts-based independent journalist
  • Rakiya Muhammad (@rakiyaam2) a Sokoto, Nigeria-based independent journalist
  • Kari Oakes (@karioakes), managing editor, Regulatory Focus/Regulator Affairs Professionals Society
  • Howard Wolinksy (@journotwit) a Flossmoor, Illinois-based independent journalist
  • Kerry Young (@kdooleyyoung), a Washington D.C.-based independent journalist who is also AHCJ’s patient safety core topic leader.

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Matthew Ong delves into the many factors that contribute to inequities in cancer care

Matthew Ong

Matthew Ong

Matthew Ong is associate editor and an investigative reporter at The Cancer Letter, where his award-winning stories on the politics and business of cancer research have contributed to federal action and changes in public policy. Ong’s reporting has been recognized by the National Press Club, SPJ and eight other organizations.

Ong was selected as a 2021 AHCJ Health Performance Reporting Fellow to produce a series on the inequities in cancer care and its ruinous cost for many patients, particularly minorities,  and how these disparities have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I spoke to Ong about the origin of the series and how he tackles such extensive, data-laden reporting and writing. Continue reading

While still an expensive therapy, doctors see promise in harnessing a patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Electron micrograph of two cytotoxic T cells (red) attacking an oral squamous cancer cell (white), part of a natural immune response.

Photo: NIH Image Gallery via FlickrElectron micrograph of two cytotoxic T cells (red) attacking an oral squamous cancer cell (white), part of a natural immune response.

If you write anything about cancer treatment, it’s nearly impossible to avoid writing about immunotherapy. But reporting on immunotherapy can quickly become complex, confusing and overwhelming. A new AHCJ tip sheet on cancer immunotherapy can help you to report effectively and appropriately on the topic.

The therapy is exactly what it sounds like. Cancer immunotherapy works to recruit the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer instead of using chemotherapy to kill cancer cells directly. Continue reading

Call for applications opens for AHCJ-National Cancer Reporting Fellowship

A group of journalists will spend three partial days online with experts from the National Institutes of Health in January to increase their understanding of and ability to report accurately on complex scientific findings, provide insight into the work of cancer researchers and to better localize cancer-related stories. Continue reading

Keep an eye out for lead-time bias with COVID-19 deaths

patient in hospital bed

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Lead time bias is a well-recognized challenge especially when it comes to studies and statistics looking at cancer screenings. As the entry on the AHCJ website explains, lead time bias is a type of bias that can “artificially inflate the survival time of someone with a disease.”

How? When providers get better at looking for — and finding — a disease, it appears to lengthen the time someone survives after diagnosis. In reality, the patient is not necessarily living longer than they would have if the disease were discovered later. It just seems like they’re living longer because the disease is identified sooner, and the “clock” on survival time starts earlier. Continue reading