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LCA Says Shame on Consumer Reports for Inaccurate Reporting

Still Awaiting Correction After 4 Months of Repeated Requests to Revise its February Report on CT Screening of Those at Risk for Lung Cancer.

WASHINGTON, DC [June 10, 2013]—Today, after four months of repeated requests to have Consumer Reports correct their inaccurate article on lung cancer screening, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) issued public criticism and released its original February 2013 letter to Consumer Reports’ President & CEO James A. Guest. The LCA letter points out factual errors in the February article and highlights other shortcomings in its reporting of the scientifically proven benefit of CT screening for those at risk for lung cancer— now estimated to saves thousands of lives a year.

“We were left with no other option but to go public and explain this deeply troubling situation,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Lung Cancer Alliance President & CEO. “It is unfortunate when a publication held in high regard with a reputation for being an objective arbiter of facts makes a conscious decision to let stand inaccurate information when the public’s health and wellbeing are at stake and when it impacts so directly those at risk for the most lethal cancer—lung cancer.”

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States. Over 160,000 people die each year from lung cancer—almost a third of all cancer deaths.  The vast majority are diagnosed at very late stage and only 15% survive five years.    

In February, Consumer Reports classified CT screening for lung cancer as a test to avoid, even though one of the largest randomized trials ever conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) confirmed in 2010 that screening people at high risk with CT scans could diagnose lung cancer at an early more curable stage and would significantly reduce deaths. 

Fenton Ambrose and Lung Cancer Alliance Chairman of the Board, Admiral T. Joseph Lopez (USN, Ret) immediately wrote to the Consumer Reports President & CEO, James A. Guest. To date, a response and correction has yet to be received or reported.  

Admiral Lopez said, “Based on Consumer Reports’ sdescription of CT screening as a test to avoid, many people at high risk for lung cancer whose lives could be saved by early detection may decide not to be screened. Consumer Reports has a responsibility to these people to correct this, and it should have been done as soon as we contacted its President & CEO in February.”

Consumer Reports started rating health care treatments and procedures five years ago with the same shaded circle scoring system given to consumer products.

Lung Cancer Alliance Board Member Gregg Gibson also stated that, “In addition to the lives at stake, Consumer Reports has put its own reputation on the line and I am shocked and disappointed that their President has not insisted on greater accuracy. Healthcare is not the same as consumer products.”