Direct-to-consumer cancer center ads emphasize emotion over info

Share this content:
Consumer-Focused Cancer Center Ads Hone in on Emotions
Consumer-Focused Cancer Center Ads Hone in on Emotions

(HealthDay News) -- Cancer centers' direct-to-consumer advertisements often utilize emotional appeal, with little information about risks, benefits, and costs, according to research published online May 27 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Laura B. Vater, M.P.H., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues analyzed content of direct-to-consumer advertisements (269 magazine ads; 44 television ads) for cancer centers. Clinical services mentioned, including type, risks, benefits, costs, and insurance availability, were analyzed, as were emotional appeals.

The researchers found that 102 centers placed 409 unique advertisements in top media markets in 2012. Treatments were promoted more often than screening or supportive services (88 percent versus 18 and 13 percent, respectively). The benefits of therapies were described more often than associated risks (27 versus 2 percent), but both were rarely quantified (2 percent). Coverage and costs were rarely mentioned (5 percent) and specific insurance plans were never mentioned. There were frequent emotional appeals (85 percent), most often mentioning hope for survival (61 percent), describing treatment as a fight or battle (41 percent), and inducing fear (30 percent). Patient testimonials were included in almost half of advertisements.

"Further work is needed to understand how these advertisements influence patient understanding and expectations of benefit from cancer treatments," the authors write.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings


Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs