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Experts acknowledge difficulty of writing about preventive health guidelines

When it comes to clinical practice guidelines, Americans have, no pun intended, developed a healthy skepticism.

"It's as complicated as you think it is," panelist Len Lichtenfield, M.D., deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told the roomful of journalists attending the panel discussion, "Guidelines for Writing about Preventive Health Guidelines" at Health Journalism 2010 in Chicago.

"You have a difficult job," Lichtenfield said. "You're trying to take something that's complicated, that's mired in science and trying to make sense of that. If you think it's difficult, you're right. In a soundbite environment, these are complicated issues."

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