Friday, August 3, 2012

Spinning Statistics

Of all the nerve, two professors have dared to criticize the Komen Foundation for the Cure for spinning mammography statistics in a campaign last October. David takes on Goliath and Goliath (a/k/a Komen for the Cure) replies with screening saves lives. Well yes we can't dispute that but we can disupute this which is taken from their ad last fall:

"early detection saves lives. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer when caught early is 98%. When it's not? 23%."

So somewhere in breast cancer statistics I am sure there is a 23% survival rate but just because you don't have regular screening doesn't mean  your cancer won't be caught until its stage IV and you get that 23% survival rate. But let's not spin the numbers here. Are they trying to scare women  into having mammograms instead of educating them?

Part of marketing is taking the features and benefits and writing about them. The feature here is regular mammograms can catch cancers earlier. The benefit is better odds for survival.

I write marketing stuff for a living. My copy writing skills might be slightly impinged by the early hour but I think I can do better than them and not mislead anyone. Perhaps they should have said something like:

Early stage breast cancer has a five year survival rate of 98% and late stage breast cancer can have a five year survival rate of 23%. Regular mammograms will help any cancer to be caught early.

Hmmm... Kudos to the professors. A big thumbs down to Komen.

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