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Oral cancer: exploring the stories in UK newspapers

Kelly, Claire, Johnson, Ilona Gail and Morgan, Maria Zeta ORCID: 2016. Oral cancer: exploring the stories in UK newspapers. British Dental Journal 221 , pp. 247-250. 10.1038/sj.bdj.2016.643

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Objective Reports suggest that patients with oral cancer delay seeking help because they are unaware of the symptoms. The majority of adults (95%) engage with news reports and 40% read newspapers. Newspaper oral cancer stories may influence awareness and health-seeking behaviour. The aim of this study was to explore how oral cancer is portrayed in UK newspaper print media. Design Qualitative content analysis of articles from ten newspapers with the widest UK print circulation. All articles using the terms 'mouth cancer' and 'oral cancer' over a three year period were retrieved. Duplicates, non-cancer and non-human articles were excluded. Results 239 articles were analysed. Common topics included 'recent research', 'survivor stories', 'health information' and 'celebrity linkage'. Articles were often emotive, featuring smoking, alcohol, sex and celebrity. Articles lacked a proper evidence base and often failed to provide accurate information about signs and symptoms, information about prevention and signposting to treatment. Conclusions Opportunities to save lives are being missed. Further work to improve social responsibility in the media and develop guidance to enhance the quality of information, health reporting and signposting to help are indicated.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
R Medicine > RK Dentistry
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0007-0610
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 July 2016
Date of Acceptance: 18 July 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 17:26

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