Magazine coverage of breast cancer in 1993 and 2003: a qualitative content analysis



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Texas A&M University


Breast cancer has touched the lives of countless people, yet many women have misconceptions about the disease. One of the most common sources for breast cancer information used by American women is popular magazines. The current study sought to describe the content of magazine articles on breast cancer from 1993 and 2003 in an attempt to determine whether article content differed, and if so, in what ways and for what reasons. Topical theme, identification of risk factors, preventive measures, and sources mentioned were categories developed to determine possible differences in content between the two years. Twice as many articles on breast cancer appeared in 1993 as in 2003. In 1993, living with breast cancer was a theme of many articles, while in 2003, hormone replacement therapy was a dominant theme. Family history was emphasized as a risk factor in articles from 1993, while long-term hormone-replacement therapy was emphasized in 2003. In general, articles in 2003 focused on overall health practices in the possible prevention of breast cancer. Social, political, and scientific occurrences relating to breast cancer that took place from the early 1990s through 2003 were considered when analyzing content. Most of the differences in content appeared to reflect such occurrences.