Fact Check #4

The startling article that Medical News Today posted that spread the headline “Unhealthy gums lead to liver cancer” may concern a lot of people initially. This article can be found whilst scrolling through big facebook news sources or on popular news pages that spew links for hours on end. The article goes into detail by starting with the statistic that people in the UK who have poor oral hygiene are 75% more likely to get liver cancer. This is followed by an observation that digestive cancer rates are rising due to aging populations and environmental problems. Next there is a section about a digestive system cancer study, which entailed several statistics bridging the whole unhealthy gum to cancer idea together. Followed by this, there is a statement that there is no clear link between oral disease and gut cancer. Which completely throws off the entire article from that point on. Following that, there is a section entitled “Reason for link is unclear” implying that scientists do believe that there is a link however they don’t know what to attribute it to. As I further fact checked the article, it becomes more clear that this is simply a developing study and scientists are eager to label it. 

When looking at the base idea that having unhealthy gums leads to liver cancer. It is a good idea to at least see what the article has to say first. First off, underneath the article title it notes that it was written by Catherine Paddock PhD, as well as more importantly, fact checked by Isabel Godfrey. “What does this mean?” you might ponder. It means that we would have to perform a fact check her on fact check. When inquiring about such fact check I was confronted with the prompt “We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to other reputable media sites, educational institutions, and, whenever possible, peer-reviewed studies” and in order to find out how accurate this was, I had to read laterally using duckduckgo to search whether or not Medical News Today is a biased source. For a medical news source this is relatively important because a lot of ordinary people believe the medical studies that they just find online. I ended up with information from this article from mediabiasfactcheck.com. On this site, I have discovered that it sources Medical News Today as reliable because it has never failed a fact check. As for what I found on wikipedia, there wasn’t much to go off of and it was all prior information that has nothing to do with their credibility. So in the grand scheme of things, it appears that the fact checking on Medical News Today must be accurate, and therefore, true as it hasn’t been proven wrong yet at the time of this blog post’s creation.

Though the fact check on Medical News Today hasn’t been proven wrong, we should still check a certain observation made in the article to be sure that we aren’t putting blind trust in the article . After starting with the first and most prominent statistic, “A large study of people living in the United Kingdom found that those who reported having poor oral health, such as sore or bleeding gums or loose teeth, had a 75% higher risk of developing liver cancer”, I read laterally to find another article relating to this. Though I found the same quote on sciencedaily.com, I searched up stream for the source on that same website and found it at a website by the name of  sage journals. This source encapsulates a study in which an experiment was performed to find the link between bad oral hygiene and gut cancer, in which the study reported that it was a 75% higher risk with those two factors correlating. 

As a whole, the idea Medical News Today has proven to be truthful in that of its sources and statistics. However, the article did radiate a sort of click-bait vibe after the article self admittingly stated that they had no real genuine evidence of the link between poor oral hygiene and liver cancer. I would argue that it makes the article even more reliable in that it advocates for further investigation.

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