News stories are often misleading, which is why FORCE launched the CDC-Funded XRAYS (eXamining the Relevance of Articles for Young Survivors) program in the first place– to help young breast cancer survivors and those at high risk for breast cancer better understand health news stories. While many viewers opt in to see the weekly XRAYS reviews or the quarterly review roundup, many viewers do not know these three significant facts about the XRAYS scoring system:
1. Why did XRAYS establish a scoring system for the reviews?
The CDC identified the need for young breast cancer survivors to have additional resources to accurately interpret news on breast cancer-related research and how it affects health-related decisions. The FORCE XRAYS scoring system allows young breast cancer survivors and their families to easily assess how relevant media and research reports may be to them.
2. What is incorporated in the XRAYS research and media scoring system?
FORCE XRAYS gives a score to the original research published. The higher the score for this rating means that the overall research design and analysis of the study were strong. Additionally, it means that the findings of the research are relevant to young breast cancer survivors.
FORCE XRAYS also gives a score to the media articles. A high scoring media article is not exaggerated, accurately reports on what the research finds, is not biased and written well.
3. Who provides the XRAYS ratings and evaluations?
The FORCE staff reviews breast cancer research and the media reports related to the research, rating the reports for their accuracy and relevance, to allow women and viewers to best assess if the recent news might affect them. Each XRAYS article is reviewed by one or members of the FORCE Scientific Advisory Board before being published on the FORCE website.
Here are a few additional things you likely did not know about the XRAYS program and scoring system:
a. Who decides on the media articles that have received substantial attention and have stimulated community discussion relevant to young breast cancer survivors and high-risk women?
FORCE Vice President of Education and XRAYS Scientific Review Lead, Lisa Rezende, PhD and Research Associate Julie Huynh.
- Rezende earned her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed four years of post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School.
- Huynh earned a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology, a BA in Creative Writing, and a MS in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona.
All XRAYS readers are invited to suggest an article for review.
b. Who reads the primary scientific literature where scientists present their data and interpretations?
Both Dr. Rezende and Ms. Huynh read the scientific literature and compare what was found in the original research and what the media article reported. They used the scoring system developed and tested by FORCE to rate the strength and relevance of the research on a scale of low to high, and the accuracy of the media article on a scale of one to five stars. Ms. Huynh writes up a summary on the original research findings.
c. Who produces the content that XRAYS releases?
Dr. Rezende and Ms. Huynh work together on XRAYS reviews then send the summary to members of the FORCE scientific advisory board, which consists of active researchers and clinicians in the fields of cancer, genetics, surgery, behavioral health, policy, and survivorship.