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Know the Science: The Facts About Health News Stories

What’s Missing: The Full Story!

Another news story reported that men and women in a study who took vitamin A were 60 percent less likely to develop melanoma than those participants who did not take it. But as the story points out “the reduced risk was more pronounced in women than men.”

What was missing from the news story?

Tell me!

Headline: Vitamin A May Slash Melanoma Risk

What was missing: What the story didn’t say was that the reduced risk for men was not “statistically significant,” meaning that the reduction was so small it might have been due to chance. That’s very different than a 60 percent reduction. The study’s authors estimated that among women in the general population, regular vitamin A use would reduce the risk for melanoma by 35 to 90 percent.