Representations of Ageing as a Risk Factor for Cancer in UK Newspapers

Cunningham, Y., MacDonald, S. , Robb, K. , MacLeod, U., Anker, T. and Hilton, S. (2016) Representations of Ageing as a Risk Factor for Cancer in UK Newspapers. 48th BSA Medical Sociology Annual Conference, Birmingham, UK, 7-9 Sept 2016.

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Publisher's URL: https://www.britsoc.co.uk/media/24246/medsoc16_abstract_book_final.pdf

Abstract

We're all getting older and more of us are getting cancer. Ten million people in the UK are over 65 years old, by 2033 it's estimated that that figure will reach 15.5 million, by 2050 it'll be 19 million. Cancer diagnoses continue to rise with longer life expectancy—in the UK three-quarters of all cancers are diagnosed in those over 60 and a third in those over 75. Cancer is, as all diseases are, recognised and experienced within a social and cultural context, and how people understand and act on cancer information is often mediated and amplified through mass media. Given the importance of age as a risk factor, and the media's role in shaping public understandings and health behaviours, this project examines how cancer and ageing is represented in media, to better understand how it impacts on older adults' cancer knowledge and help-seeking behaviour. Our content analysis of UK newspapers showed that age was mentioned less than other risk factors for cancer, and that the celebrities and 'ordinary people' with cancer represented in newspaper stories were younger that people with cancer in the UK population. General representations of people in media are younger, this work shows that this holds true even in cancer stories, where older adults are most at risk. Public policy and community programmes need to be developed to effectively address this problem. Stakeholders (including cancer research organisations and charities and representative groups for older people) need to develop effective strategies to use the media

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cunningham, Dr Yvonne and MacLeod, Dr Una and Hilton, Professor Shona and Robb, Dr Kathryn and Macdonald, Dr Sara
Authors: Cunningham, Y., MacDonald, S., Robb, K., MacLeod, U., Anker, T., and Hilton, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit

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