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Follow-up Study Finds Increased Lung Cancer Media Coverage, Patient-Focused Approach

Distribution Source : U.S. Newswire


Date : Tuesday - May 17, 2005

To: National Desk, Health Reporter

Contact: Jessica Barba of CancerCare, 212-712-6137

NEW YORK, May 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Overall media coverage of lung cancer is increasing with a focus on supportive issues rather than blame, according to a recent survey by CancerCare presented today at the 41st annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The study is a follow-up to a 2000 analysis, also presented at that year's ASCO meeting, which found that lung cancer received the least amount of media coverage compared to breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers - yet claims the lives of more people each year than the three combined.

"We have seen first-hand what the power of the media's attention can do to elevate national awareness and change public perception," explains Diane Blum, executive director of CancerCare. "It's exciting to see that the media are now becoming the 'voice' for a group that has been overlooked and blamed for too many years. Just as CancerCare was a pioneer in breast cancer advocacy efforts that led to the rise of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we hope to achieve similar results with continued lung cancer advocacy efforts."

Since 2000, CancerCare has spearheaded Lung Cancer Awareness Week, a national campaign focused on disseminating information, decreasing the stigma associated with lung cancer, and increasing the overall understanding of the risks, as well as the options available to patients diagnosed with this disease.

Lung cancer has become known as the "invisible disease" - yet accounts for 28 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 172,000 Americans will be diagnosed and more than 163,000 will die from lung cancer in 2005 alone.

The original survey conducted in 2000 analyzed media coverage of the four major cancers (breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal) from August 1999 to July 2000 and found that lung cancer was not only the least reported-on, but that coverage was overshadowed by tobacco-related issues. The objective of this follow-up study was to determine if there was an increase in media attention and positive coverage since the start of the campaign in 2000. A comparison of the two studies show:

-- Lung cancer represents a greater share of cancer coverage - volume of lung cancer articles increased by 10 percent.

-- Lung cancer articles less likely to focus on smoking and tobacco - there was a 15 percent decline in smoking-related articles.

-- Treatment and research now receive a majority of attention in lung cancer coverage - coverage is also more likely to include clinical trials, supportive care, and patient stories.

-- Lung cancer now has an equal number of celebrity stories as breast cancer, the number one reported-on cancer.

The study's authors recommend a follow-up survey to determine if this increase in positive media coverage translates into less stigma and blame toward lung cancer patients.

About CancerCare

CancerCare is a national non-profit organization that provides free professional support services to anyone affected by cancer: people with cancer, caregivers, children, loved ones, and the bereaved. CancerCare programs - including counseling, education, financial assistance and practical help - are provided by trained oncology social workers and are completely free of charge. Founded in 1944, CancerCare now provides individual help to more than 90,000 people each year, in addition to the more than one million people who gain information and resources from its Web site. Find out more about CancerCare by calling 1-800-813-HOPE (4673) or at http://www.cancercare.org.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A graphic supporting this release is available at: http://www.usnewswire.com/attach/cancerchart3.jpg.



/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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