Science reporting doesn’t get dodgier than this.

Alright, this is going to be a bit ranty. When I write about research I take great care to read the primary literature and try and ensure I am not making unfounded claims or assumptions. Newspapers, on the other hand, it appears, are loathe to do the same.

To put things into context, Mina Bissell and collaborators at UC Berkeley have shown that mechanical compression of breast cancer cells grown in 3d culture in a laminin-rich substance called Matrigel can force them to behave and develop like normal mammospheres. Accurate report here  here. Digression – look up Mina’s brilliant TED talk here that focuses on some of the work she’s done to show how the microenvironment cancer cells find themselves in can suppress tumourigenesis here.

Somehow, the utter morons who reported this in the popular press made the leap from “squeezing breast cancer cells” to “squeezing breasts” and went from compression to compression bras as a therapeutic option! Below is a screenshot from the Deccan Herald, which is a paper widely read in the state of Karnataka in India, where I am currently on vacation.


If local stupidity weren’t enough, someone on MSN Now has had a similar idea.


It looks like the Deccan Herald ripped everything off straight from the Daily Fail, which has a very dubious record with reporting about cancer – so dubious, in fact, there was actually a BBC Three song about their obsession with things that cause cancer.



It looks like several other newspapers have come out with similar bullshit (Check google news for “squeezing breasts prevent cancer”).

Oh dear!



One response to “Science reporting doesn’t get dodgier than this.

  1. Cancer porn! Sigh….

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