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A content analysis of news coverage of skin cancer prevention and detection, 1979-2002
Unformatted Document Text:  Skin cancer news coverage 13 records of all presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2000 election were released, revealing that both Al Gore and Dick Cheney had nonmelanoma skin cancers removed in the past. Other celebrities diagnosed, treated, or who died from skin cancer that received media attention are: Nancy Reagan (1982-1983), George Bush (1985-1986), Barbara Bush (1990-1991 and again in 1991-1992), Maureen Reagan (diagnosed with melanoma in 1996, and continually treated until her death in 2001), and Bill Clinton (2000-2001). The average number of skin cancer stories per year about celebrities was 12.17 (s.d. = 10.13) Thirteen percent of stories reported about policy recommendations or guidelines around skin cancer. Policy coverage peaked in 1986-1987. During that time, there were many regulations being proposed and enacted to curb the depletion of the ozone layer. Many of these stories detailed the impact of the depleting ozone layer on skin cancer incidence. While most of the stories about policy were related to the ozone layer, other important policies that received media coverage concerned regulations around the use of indoor tanning lamps (particularly in 1979-1980, 1988-1989, and 1991-1992), FDA guidelines about the use of sunscreen on babies (1994-1995), and NIH approval to conduct gene therapy research for melanoma (1988-1990). On average, there were 5 stories per year about skin cancer policy (s.d. = 5.5). The remaining 19.3% were about a variety of topics. Many of these articles were about the dangers of the sun or the importance of skin cancer prevention. Other topics included stories about AIDS patients with Kaposi’s Sarcoma, or people inflicted with xeroderma pigmentosum, a very rare skin condition that causes hyper-sensitivity to the sun and hence increased susceptibility to skin cancer, and requires people diagnosed with the disease to avoid any sunlight. Media attention to xeroderma pigmentosum, a disease so rare that it only affects 1 in 250,000 in the world (or less than 1200 people in the United States), is indicative of the news

Authors: Stryker, Jo. and Solky, Benjamin.
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Skin cancer news coverage
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records of all presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2000 election were released,
revealing that both Al Gore and Dick Cheney had nonmelanoma skin cancers removed in the
past. Other celebrities diagnosed, treated, or who died from skin cancer that received media
attention are: Nancy Reagan (1982-1983), George Bush (1985-1986), Barbara Bush (1990-1991 and
again in 1991-1992), Maureen Reagan (diagnosed with melanoma in 1996, and continually
treated until her death in 2001), and Bill Clinton (2000-2001). The average number of skin
cancer stories per year about celebrities was 12.17 (s.d. = 10.13)
Thirteen percent of stories reported about policy recommendations or guidelines around
skin cancer. Policy coverage peaked in 1986-1987. During that time, there were many
regulations being proposed and enacted to curb the depletion of the ozone layer. Many of these
stories detailed the impact of the depleting ozone layer on skin cancer incidence. While most of
the stories about policy were related to the ozone layer, other important policies that received
media coverage concerned regulations around the use of indoor tanning lamps (particularly in
1979-1980, 1988-1989, and 1991-1992), FDA guidelines about the use of sunscreen on babies
(1994-1995), and NIH approval to conduct gene therapy research for melanoma (1988-1990). On
average, there were 5 stories per year about skin cancer policy (s.d. = 5.5).
The remaining 19.3% were about a variety of topics. Many of these articles were about
the dangers of the sun or the importance of skin cancer prevention. Other topics included
stories about AIDS patients with Kaposi’s Sarcoma, or people inflicted with xeroderma
pigmentosum, a very rare skin condition that causes hyper-sensitivity to the sun and hence
increased susceptibility to skin cancer, and requires people diagnosed with the disease to avoid
any sunlight. Media attention to xeroderma pigmentosum, a disease so rare that it only affects 1
in 250,000 in the world (or less than 1200 people in the United States), is indicative of the news


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