Popular magazines don't inform men about prostate and colon cancer screening

September 08, 2004

Decisions about screening for prostate and colon cancer require patients to have accurate, balanced information. Unfortunately, men are not getting this information from popular men's magazines. When articles are available, they often do not provide the information necessary for the reader to make an informed decision about screening.

A recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reviewed general messaging on prostate and colon cancer screening in popular magazines. In this study, the authors reviewed the top three magazines in six categories (African-American, Men's, Women's, News, General, and Health) with the highest circulation. According to the study, relatively few popular magazine articles provided in-depth information about prostate and colon cancer screening.

The study discovered that in-depth articles about these cancers do not appear as frequently as articles about breast cancer. In addition, key points missing from many of the magazine articles were: the relative importance of the various cancer risk factors, risk factors that should lead to earlier screening, and the potential harms, complications, and uncertainties associated with a screening test.

This lack of information may help to explain the public's misperception about the risk of the different types of cancer, as well as the low awareness of the importance of screening for colon cancer and the lack of appreciation of the pros and cons associated with prostate cancer screening.
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About the Author

Mira L. Katz, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a behavioral scientist with a research focus on cancer control including early detection, primary prevention, and survivorship. Dr. Katz is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University. Dr. Katz, received both her Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Public Health from Temple University. Dr. Katz is available for questions and interviews and can be reached at katz-4@medctr.osu.edu.

Media wishing to receive PDFs of these articles please contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

About the Journal of General Internal Medicine

The Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) is the official scientific publication of the Society of General Internal Medicine, whose mission is to promote improved patient care, research, and education in primary care and general internal medicine. JGIM articles focus on topics such as clinical research, curriculum development, epidemiology, prevention, and health care delivery in general internal medicine.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher. The company remains independent with over 900 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, and Japan. Blackwell publishes over 700 journals in partnership with more than 550 academic and professional societies.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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