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Coverage and quality of oral cancer information in selected popular press: May 1998 to July 2003

Jalaima A. Graham, MPH, NIH/NIDCR, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, Montgomery College, 45 Center Drive, 4th Floor, Bethesda, MD 20892-6401, 301-594-5391, grahamj@mail.nih.gov, Alice M. Horowitz, PhD, NIDCR/NIH, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 6307 Herkos Ct, Bethesda, MD 20817, and Maria T. Canto, DDS, MS, MPH, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, NIH, 45 Center Drive, 4th Floor, Room 4As43B, Bethesda, MD 20815.

Objectives: A 1998 study demonstrated a lack of coverage about oral cancer in the popular press between April 1987 and April 1997. Since that study, several oral cancer-related activities took place, many of which could have increased the media’s attention to oral cancer. This study analyzed coverage and quality of oral cancer information in selected popular press between May 1998 and July 2003. Methods: Articles from magazines and newspapers were retrieved from three databases and were analyzed by specific topics and subtopics for adequacy of content and accuracy of information. Articles were categorized as either “primarily oral cancer-related” or “primarily tobacco-related.” Results: Sixty articles were identified, 39 of which were included in the analysis. Seventeen articles were “primarily oral cancer-related.” Twenty-two were “primarily tobacco-related.” Seventy-two percent of the articles mentioned at least one risk factor for oral cancer, the most common being tobacco use (69%). Far fewer articles noted alcohol (10%) or the combined use of tobacco and alcohol (5%) as risk factors. Only 8% of the articles recommended an oral cancer examination. Conclusion: Despite local and limited national efforts and activities aimed at increasing public awareness of oral cancer, the popular press coverage of those activities was minimal or non-existent.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to

Keywords: Cancer Prevention, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Innovations in Teaching, Researching, and Applying Health Communication

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA