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Oral cancer: exploring the stories in United Kingdom newspaper articles

Kelly, Christopher, Johnson, Ilona and Morgan, Maria 2015. Oral cancer: exploring the stories in United Kingdom newspaper articles. Presented at: BSODR British Division Meeting, Cardiff, UK, Sep 2015.

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Objectives: Reports suggest that many patients with oral cancer delay seeing help because they are unaware of the symptoms. Studies indicate that 90% of adults engage with news reports and 4 out of 10 people read newspapers. Newspaper stories on oral cancer may influence awareness and health seeking behaviour. This study aimed to explore how oral cancer is portrayed in UK newspaper print media. Methods: News articles were retrieved from the 10 UK newspapers with the greatest print circulation. A newspaper archive database was used to retrieve all “mouth cancer” and “oral cancer” articles between 1 August 2011 and 31 October 2014. Duplicates, non-cancer and non-human articles were excluded. Content analysis was undertaken assisted by NVivo 10 software and themes were identified. Results: 241 Articles were identified. Themes identified included: “recent research”, “survivor stories”, “celebrity linkage” and “health information”. Predominately articles had focussed headlines linked to risk and content was written to elicit emotions. For example survivor stories included dramatic tragedy or hope. When present, signs and symptoms in oral cancer articles were used to draw attention, elicit emotion and often generate concern. Many articles omitted to convey accurate or complete health information about signs, symptoms or signposting. Even where information was present, it was placed at the bottom of the article where it was least likely to be read. Conclusions: Opportunities to increase awareness, early detection and early treatment for oral cancer through UK newspaper media are being missed. Further work to improve the quality of information and health reporting in newspapers and enhance social responsibility are indicated.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 15:03

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